State of the borough debate, 18 March 2015, City Academy, 7-9pm


Hackney residents are being asked to take part in a Question Time style debate about the future of the borough, with a panel of local experts, including the borough’s elected Mayor, Jules Pipe.

The evening event, which will be held at the City Academy in Homerton on 18 March, will give people the chance to air their views and to ask questions about change in the borough and the challenges that Hackney faces over the coming years. 

It is being held to launch a major year-long resident engagement programme, during which the Council aims to talk to thousands of local people about their experience of the rapid social and economic change that has affected Hackney in recent years.

Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney
So much has changed in Hackney in recent years. We want to give local people the chance to share their thoughts and feelings about the change, and this debate is just the start of that. Much of the change has been positive, but Hackney faces many challenges; an affordable housing crisis, a growing population and massive central government cuts to local public service budgets. This is the beginning of a big conversation with residents about how we tackle all of that.
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney

The panel will be chaired by long-time Hackney resident Dave Hill, who writes the Guardian's On London column and his own Clapton Pond blog. It will also include:

Mayor Jules Pipe – Hackney’s elected Mayor since 2002

Melissa Butcher is a local resident and Birkbeck academic who has worked closely with young people in Hackney to research their sense of place, identity and belonging, using film and photography

Tunde Okewale one of the UK’s most prominent young and award winning barristers. Tunde was brought up in Hackney and is patron of the Hackney Community Law Centre. He took part in the Commission that looked into the 2011 riots and has represented many people involved in gang related offences. He is also the founder of a not for profit organisation, Urban Lawyers which provides legal education and career support for young people.

Robbie de Santos – is Senior Public Policy Advocate at StepChange Debt Charity, after leading on Shelter's private rented sector policy work. He is a trustee of Generation Rent, a campaigning organisation representing private tenants across the UK. An experienced policy maker, he is involved in Neighbourhood Planning in Clapton, where he lives. Robbie is also Food and Drink Editor of Clapton magazine Wily Badger, and writes a food blog, North East Eats, about the changing restaurant scene in the Hackney area.

Dr Cheryl Day - headteacher at Clapton Girls' Academy, has been invited to join the panel.

The event is open to all residents, although numbers are limited to 200. Book your State of the borough debate ticket here.  or by calling 020 8356 3009. If people wish to ask a question at the event, they will be asked to register their question when booking a place.

Further panellists may be announced nearer the event.

Panel Chair Dave Hill said: “I have lived in Hackney for many years and all my children have been to Hackney schools. I think many people, like me, care very much about the future of this place, and I think this is a debate that is long overdue. I hope that lots of local people will want to join us at City Academy for what promises to be a very interesting debate.”