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MacEwen longlist: Charterhouse Road Club

Bringing cohesion to this multicultural and deprived neighbourhood

what if: projects ltd for Southern Housing Group

Location: Charterhouse Road, Hackney

Charterhouse Road Club is one of twenty-one projects that were realised as part of the VACANT LOT program (2007-2013) initiated by what if: projects. The aim was to transform neglected and unused spaces on inner city housing estates into environments that provide neighbourhoods with the most basic of requirements: outside space, a place to grow food and a place to socialise. Projects investigate forms of neighbourhood engagement and aim to start processes of sustainable change.

In 2010 there were no green or play areas for the 750 residents of the Samuel Lewis Trust Estate on Charterhouse Road in Hackney. Between 2011-2013 the derelict community centre site was transformed in stages and through collaboration with many partners including the environmental charity Groundwork London, Southern Housing Group, local residents, volunteers, trainees from Hackney College and the Football Foundation. Project funding (£85k) to transform the 722m2 site was sourced from the Big Lottery ‘Local Food’, Mayor of London funding and from Southern Housing Group.

what if: projects produced the design and construction information, supported funding applications, project managed the delivery of works on site and developed a creative procurement route that involved carpentry trainees and volunteers in the construction process.

Charterhouse Road Club has brought greater cohesion to this multicultural and deprived neighbourhood. It highlights the potential impact of small-scale projects that engage and bring people together. Since completion in 2013 the community centre and adjoining outside spaces are no longer a local crime hotspot but have become a resource for residents of the estate and the wider community. The outside play and sports areas are popular with young people and have allowed for a sports programme to be facilitated on the estate. While accommodating social gatherings, celebrations and events the community hall also provides rehearsal space for choreographers.


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