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Catching up with our Longest Standing Customer

At Places for People, we are privileged to support Customers who remain with us for a long time, even spanning generations. Their history is our history, and we are always delighted to hear more about it. As part of our Local and Community History Month celebrations, we met with Kim Collins, one of the longest-standing Places for People Customers, to find out more about the history of her family and the Meadows Estate in Hounslow.

Kim’s family moved to the Meadows Estate in 1974 and were one of the first families to join the Community. Her father was a London taxi driver and moved to the Community with his three young sons.

“[My dad] was living in Notting Hill with my brothers…it was a one-bedroom flat, back in those days there weren’t the mod cons of a bathroom. My brothers said they remember coming here and it smelling of new paint.”

Formerly known as The Beaver Estate, The Meadows was built in the early 1970s in the London Borough of Hounslow. The Community features some unique street names, all named after small animals such as Chinchilla Drive, Marmot Road and Badger Close, in reference to the farm that previously sat on the site.

Born in 1977, Kim has lived her entire life in the same house on the Meadows Estate. Her family are the last remaining household from the Meadows’ opening in 1974.

Kim’s own children have also grown up on the Meadows Estate amongst an active and diverse community.

“When my daughter was born, something called Sure Start started at The Hub…there were lots of mums all with children under the age of five and we started doing volunteer work…they also did free ‘stay and play’ childcare and I’m still best friends with one of the childminders.

“I really like the cultural mix here. We’ve had International Food days where we got to know the Lebanese mums who would share Lebanese food. There were Somali mums who were making their own clothes”.

Sharing her fond memories of the Meadows Estate, Kim reflected on the benefits she experienced as a lifelong Places for People Customer.

“Living in a housing association property and having the rent set at that level has given me and the kids the opportunity to be involved in far more sport and be more outdoorsy…I got them involved in a lot more and I don’t think I’d have been able to do that if we were paying market rent.”

It was fantastic to find out about Kim’s family history, we are always delighted to connect with our Customers and hear their stories. 

For more Customer and Colleague stories - make sure to explore our In My Own Words series.