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August 29, 2012

Hounslow Is My Hometown – And It’s On The Up

By Spear's

If you asked most Spear’s readers to name property hotspots in London beginning with an ‘H’, you’d probably get Hampstead – or perhaps Harrods. It’s safe to say that Hounslow is most likely absent from their mental A-Z, says Arnelle Paterson

If you asked most Spear’s readers to name property hotspots in London beginning with an ‘H’, you’d probably get Hampstead – or perhaps Harrods. It’s safe to say that Hounslow is most likely absent from their mental A-Z, says Arnelle Paterson, but recent regeneration means it may become a part of London they’re aware of

The London borough of Hounslow is situated in West London near Heathrow Airport, and you may have unknowingly passed through it on your way to the Bahamas. It is known for its cultural diversity – Indians, Pakistanis, Afghans, Polish and Somalis principally – but also, unhappily, for its high crime rate and inarticulate adolescents, who have a tendency to throw in a ‘bruv’ or two mid-sentence.

Recently, I’ve become one of the teenage volunteers involved in ‘Team Heston West’, an organisation covering my council ward and hoping to decide which improvements the area could use. We’re looking in particular at activities to prevent footloose teenagers hanging around, such as community centres and sports pitches.

Team Heston West is part of the Big Local scheme, funded by the Big Lottery which awards money to communities to enable them to make positive changes. Heston has been awarded £1 million to spend over the next ten years, which seems like a lot of money that the area could do with. Prior to this, Hounslow Council made improvements with the remodelling of council flat kitchens.

Hounslow old (pictured above) and new (pictured left)

  During my seventeen years of residence I have seen a multitude of developments from Cranford Community College becoming an academy school to the construction of flats, an Asda and a gym. It may seem minuscule and unnecessary to say that an Asda has sprung up but it brings more people (and their wallets) into Hounslow while helping local residents with the cost of living as the ongoing recession means that everyone is feeling the pinch.

These developments arise as Hounslow shows other positive signs, in particular the rise in the percentage of students across the borough achieving at least 5A*-Cs in their GCSEs (including English and maths). Hounslow increased from 62.5 per cent to 62.7, which may seem small, but less so in the context of a national fall. In addition to this, ten out of fourteen secondary schools achieved a 100 per cent pass rate.
 
The small borough in Greater London is miles apart from the hustle and bustle of Starbucks-loving City workers (though even Hounslow has a Starbucks!) but it’s my hometown and I look forward to seeing Hounslow grow, flourish and thrive.

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