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Inspirational residents: Margaret Wilks

How you make changes happen

Margaret Wilks is a proud campaigner for the neighbourhood she lives in and loves, the Beaumont Estate in Leyton. Managed by L&Q, it’s one of the largest housing estates in the borough of Waltham Forest and was once home to more than 4,000 people. For over 20 years her voluntary work has put residents centre stage of life on the estate.

Along with her late husband, Brian, Margaret has lived on the Beaumont Estate for over 60 years. The couple led the Beaumont Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) with pride, determination and dedication to bettering the lives of residents.

As Chair and lead representative, they played a vital role in shaping life on the estate, creating opportunities for everyone to have their voices heard.

The couple focused on reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in the local area. After a series of incidents, Margaret and Brian organised four youth gatherings, bringing teenagers from different gangs together to try and overcome tensions.

Margaret set up a range of activities to give young people who needed a place and purpose away from the streets, from drama lessons and after-school clubs to basketball sessions and youth nights.

Margaret also arranged weekly tea dances in the local community centre and organised day trips for older residents. With an average of 100 people on each outing, the group went everywhere from Norfolk and Broadstairs to Malden and Southend.

Margaret said: “25 years ago, people knew their neighbours and would help each other out. The changing of the times meant that many older people living on the estate became isolated – and I wanted to do something about that.”

Margaret’s husband Brian sadly passed away in April 2021, but Margaret remains an active community member and continues to serve as a Lead Representative on the Beaumont TRA.

Together, the couple has touched hundreds of lives in this north-east London neighbourhood. Thank you, Margaret. You’re an inspiration!