Southbank Centre is a world-famous, multi-venue arts centre in London, with a dynamic year-round artistic programme and an inclusive ethos. Back in April 2015, as part of our Social Clubs programme, Jess and the Southbank Centre team invited Miriam, Zaitun and a whole group of of their older and younger neighbours over for their first community visit, complete with tea, cake and a concert.
In the three years since that first trip, Tim, Marguerita and over 250 of their fellow south London neighbours have been treated to a whopping 11 collaborative events with the Southbank Centre: behind-the-scenes-tours of the Royal Festival Hall, oral history recording sessions, fantastic lunchtime concerts, and workshops on all kinds of fascinating topics, from Jazz singing to Bollywood dancing, and African folktales to Indonesian music.
As well as helping to keep our social clubs programme fresh and exciting for the existing neighbours in our network, the events provided by Southbank have also acted as fantastic outreach tools. It was a Bollywood dance workshop at the Royal Festival Hall last year, that finally inspired 80-year-old Albert to get involved with South London Cares. He confessed he’d been meaning to come to something for a while, but his battles with anxiety had made it a challenge. He told us that in the case of this event, intrigue had finally won - and he hadn't been disappointed. On leaving the club he said: “What a fantastic afternoon –it was an incredibly warm and welcoming space, full of friendly, chatty people”. Albert now regularly attends at least four South London Cares social clubs per month, so it's no mean feat to say that thanks to Southbank Centre, he’s much more connected to his local community.
Yesterday, Lucy and the Southbank team went above and beyond by bringing the spirit of Southbank Centre to a special event at our regular Stockwell venue, in belated honour of International Women’s Day and all the fantastic females who make up the South London Cares network. The Stockwell neighbours doubled up their celebrations by also commemorating the centenary of the first women getting the vote in 1918. Along with all their usual laughter, story sharing and catching up over tea and cake, with help from Kate, a brilliant theatre designer, Rani, Sohret and the gang made their very own Suffragette inspired rosettes and sashes.
Southbank Centre is a shining example of all that is innovative, creative, diverse and dynamic about London. That’s why it’s so fantastic that they go to such great lengths to ensure that their older neighbours feel as included in their programmes as any other arts enthusiast. We're incredibly grateful for their generous support and community spirit over the last 3 years. Long may it continue!
Posted by Charlie Jamieson on Tuesday 13th March 2018
Charlie designs and delivers exciting Social Clubs across Southwark and Lambeth for younger and older south Londoners to enjoy together. Before joining the team, Charlie worked for Macmillan Cancer Support.