Blog > “The Green”, an interview with Joe Gray

“The Green”, an interview with Joe Gray

I met with Joe Gray, Project Lead for Oxford House on their work with the Tower Hamlets High Streets and Town Centres team, who together are delivering a regeneration project in town centres. We met to discuss Oxford House’s new monthly meeting, “The Green”, to find out what it’s for and how to get involved.

It is clear that the success of “The Green” – a meeting that takes place on the third Tuesday of every month at Oxford House, rests on getting as many people from the local area actively engaged as possible; businesses and residents are key, and there’s a real ambition to hear from more young people who live and work in the area too.

What is “The Green”?
“The Green” is a monthly gathering at Oxford House. It’s an evolution of the Bethnal Green Business Forum, and the gathering provides a platform that gives a voice to businesses and residents in the same space. It’s supported by Tower Hamlets Council, and they’re in attendance each month, which adds value as they hear what people think and feel. I want to see how businesses and residents come together and reach agreement on the issues that affect them both, at a time when the council is thinking about the way the borough’s town centres look and feel.

What is the main purpose of “The Green”?
There are a few purposes to “The Green”. Firstly, it gives Oxford House a chance to keep people updated on progress being made on their work with Tower Hamlets. Secondly, it provides a platform which enables people who live, work or visit Bethnal Green a chance to share their concerns and to have a genuine voice on what’s happening in the area. Because we keep agendas open at “The Green”, we’ve chatted about topics as varied as new bike racks, electric vehicle charge points, anti-social behaviour and The Stairway to Heaven Memorial. Also, every month we hear from a guest speaker with local passion and expertise, which adds colour to every meeting. This month’s guest is author and archivist Gary Haines from Museum of Childhood.

Who would you like to see at “The Green”?
If you care about Bethnal Green and you want that to be known, then this is the meeting for you. I want to see a broad range of people come through, and am particularly keen to hear from students and young people aged 16-25, as they are underrepresented currently. The sweet spot is getting people of all ages to discuss issues in an open and positive way, so that’s what we’re aiming for.

How do people get involved?
We meet on the third Tuesday every month. The next meeting is on the 21st of November, where items on the agenda include: Business support around Christmas, Schools and businesses Christmas decorations, Business and community support in 2018. If you’d like to add anything to the agenda, just drop us a line on

Having met Joe, it’s evident that this is a unique opportunity to have an impact on the regeneration of the town centre and one that should be used fully by everyone to make sure Bethnal Green continues to thrive as much as possible. As a person aged between 16-25 it is often quite hard to have your ideas heard and taken seriously, however this platform aims to do exactly that, so whether you have concerns about certain issues or want to praise others it is extremely important to engage with this platform and to share your ideas. Whilst it is important for young people to engage with this platform, the strength of “The Green” will come down to intergenerational engagement. Everyone, no matter their age is encouraged to regularly attend meetings and become actively involved.

We hope to see you at the next meeting on the 21st of November at Oxford House at 6pm.

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By Thufayel Ahmed