Thursday 2 March 2006 1.11pm
Yes, it's a nice website - http://www.myjamfactory.com
- and they link prominently to this site, for which I am grateful, and I know a lot of Jam Factory residents use this forum too.
But I thought both the feature in The Independent
which inspired BBC London, and the BBC report itself, rather missed the point in hailing this as some beacon of community spirit in the inner city.
What they're doing at the Jam Factory is all well and good, but it's only fostering a sense of community within the confines of the gated community, not beyond.
Certainly sites like the Jam Factory one and the Metro Central Heights forum fill a need when it comes to discussing service charges, residents' association business, refuse and other small-scale neighbourly matters.
That's fine for the 200 out of the 400 Jam Factory residents who use their site, and I wish them all well - but I'm not sure how much it contributes to the bigger picture of re-engaging people with their communities.
Whereas community sites like this one I think can play a role - with varying degrees of success - in bringing together a genuine community with people from many backgrounds; those who've been here for years as well as new arrivals in the smart developments.
Interestingly I had a call this morning from ARD German television, who were looking to follow up the BBC London piece but couldn't remember the details of the site. I did pass on the Jam Factory details but I also put the case for community sites like this one.