"After watching Concrete Soldiers Uk, I left the theatre very emotional and very angry...
I wanted to go out and shout about all the injustices in this film. Watch it, it's powerful stuff."
Anita, Theatre Director
It has taken three years to make this film.
Why did the filmmaker feel compelled to make this film and who is it for?
‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ is a new documentary film by Nikita Woolfe, looking at an under-reported scandal in London and across the country — the social cleansing of council estates. Starved of funds by central government, councils and housing associations are entering into deals with private developers in which, instead of renovating estates, they are being demolished and rebuilt. The developers make huge profits, but existing tenants, and leaseholders are squeezed out, socially cleansed from their homes, and often from the boroughs in which they have lived for years, for decades, or for their whole lives.
Focusing in particular on the experiences of those living on the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark, and Central Hill and Cressingham Gardens in Lambeth, the film exposes how councils bully residents into making decisions about their homes without proper consultation and also uncovers how developers have found loopholes to avoid building affordable housing.
It also looks at the Grenfell Tower fire in June, and the response of some who are saying that tower blocks built in the 1960s and 70s should be demolished. Politicians and journalists claim they are ‘criminally unsafe’, unfit for purpose as housing, and that their maintenance swallows up public funds.
But they are wrong. And although the greed has become palpable, and it sometimes seems that people can only stand by and watch this destruction take place, there is resistance, from people fighting for our future social housing. Working tirelessly, these people are fighting the system because they believe that by sheer persistence they can make a difference.
The film encourages viewers to have hope, and a belief that a fairer future is out there.