Andy Smith Co-Founders Story
I moved onto the Alton estate in 1996 with a group of friends. The estate is huge. One of the biggest housing estates in Europe.
Not long after living on the estate and becoming friends with people in the area through a football team a few of us were involved with, I began to see and hear about some of the negative things that went on in the community where we lived.
I heard about older people that had not been out of their homes for over 20 years and were living in isolation and fear. I saw kids riding stolen mopeds around the estate, cars and houses getting burnt out, drugs available all over the place and people getting robbed on the street.
My friends and I began to dream, pray and scheme about what we could do to make a difference in the area. It started small, with a desire to see a change in our community, a few prayers, good friends and ideas.
In January 2000, we formed Regenerate, a Christian faith based charity. We started it with my Mum, Mo. She helped manage the finances and administration and myself and a group of friends started setting up and running projects that would serve the community.
The work began by organising a lunch club for the older people in the area. We rented a church hall and employed a cook and within a few weeks we had 100 regular members. Older people that had been isolated before hand.
We then started developing projects for young people and children, such as, football clubs, dance and homework clubs, minibus trips out of London, a Juice Bar drop-in youth centre, a music studio, mentoring schemes and trips for young people to volunteer in developing countries.
Over the years we have also been taking what has begun in Roehampton to many other estates around South West London by using our Double decker bus (a mobile youth centre) and have helped others to initiate projects in their own communities.
In 2006 Regenerate RISE was established as a separate charity to focus on developing the work with the elderly.
Today Regenerate continues to focus on the estates in and around Roehampton as well as helping and supporting others who are initiating similar projects on estates across London.