Council housing the subject of new Channel 4 factual series

Brand new access-all-areas, six-part series going inside one of the country’s biggest landlords, Southwark Council.

Across the UK the need for decent homes is at a peak, while cash-strapped councils struggle to meet extraordinary demands. Channel 4 is going inside one of the country’s biggest public landlords, Southwark Council, to tell the story of housing in the 21st Century. Six-part series Council House Britain, produced by The Garden Productions, will meet the people working to keep the operation running- 55,000 properties, each with their own issue.

There’s a chance to meet the tenants who have made their home in the shadow of the Shard and luxurious flats. With nearly forty per cent of Southwark’s population living in properties managed by the council, there’s never a dull moment: from hoarders and shut-ins, dealing with invading pests and those never-ending leaks, to the heart-breaking stories of families on the edge and fighting eviction.

Southwark is one of the councils hit hardest by government cuts; there aren’t enough properties to meet demand and those responsible for allocating them often have to make tough calls.

“Council House Britain offers a timely and eye-opening insight into what’s involved in managing one of the biggest and busiest boroughs in the country. With access to both council workers and their tenants, the series is bursting with characters and their stories. It provides a warm, uplifting and at times jaw-dropping glimpse into what it takes to find and keep a place to call home.” – Fozia Khan and Madonna Benjamin, Commissioning Editors

Among the characters to be featured in the series is  housing officer Charmaine. Looking after 650 tenants, she is a lifeline to residents, a shoulder to cry on and a voice of reason.

Not for faint-hearted, pest officers Andy and Wayne contend with everything from rodents and bed bugs to exotic snakes and arachnids. As bugs can often be a symptom of much bigger problems such depression and deprivation, they also find themselves as friends turned therapists to residents.

“It’s incredibly exciting that after two years of scoping and filming, we are about to share this documentary with the world. Council officers are often the unsung heroes of the public sector, but just as COVID-19 has revealed the important work our rubbish collectors and social care workers do, Council House Britain will show the country how passionate and committed our housing teams are. I’m grateful to The Garden and Channel 4 for shining a light on the challenges councils and residents are facing after years of austerity and celebrating the many wonderful and unique people who call Southwark home. Welcome to Southwark – we hope you enjoy your visit.” – Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council

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