The Common House
Bethnal Green, London
The Common House is an urban community space run by and for different members of local community groups that are focused in different ways on peer support, increased comunity well being and craeting positive social change. The Common House also provides affordable meeting and event space for non member groups which share its community building ethos.
The Common House allows different community groups to have contact with each other, 'cross fertilise' and explore oppurtunities to work and grow together, and support each other.
The Common House allows different community
The Common House was founded in 2013 by a coalition of community groups with the aim of providing an affordable and accessible home for groups who are working for positive social change, as well as creating a supportive social community in our local area. This space now serves as a meeting and events space for our 12 regular user groups. Current user groups include:
- Mental health peer support group
- A low cost community massage service
- A sex worker ESOL and peer support group
- Fuel Poverty Action
- The Housing
- Austerity and Mental Health Network
- A peer support group for transgender people
Representatives from each user group run the space through three working groups; Finance, Facilitation and Communications. These working groups meet on a monthly basis to take decisions and run the space.
In this way, all member groups contribute to and have a say in the running of the space, and there are no paid staff. The Common House also provides subsidised meeting and events space for a range of other campaigning and support groups who use the space irregularly. The Common House has hosted over 7,000 hours of community action since September 2013, including over 500 meetings, 350 classes and workshops, 120 complementary healthcare sessions, 80 reading groups, and 110 film screenings. All of our user groups are non-profit, volunteer-run, and committed to building supportive and more integrated communities, and ultimately a fairer society.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
We are looking to run a monthly skill sharing and discussion group to provide a social and learning space for our members. This will also create an opportunity for individuals from the wider community to participate and get involved with the common house, and benefit from our shared resource. We would especially like to reach out to people living in the wider community who may be isolated or in need of support, meaningful activity and opportunities to create empowerment through working for positive social change. To do this we are in need of funding to spend on publicity – flyers and leaflets which would be better at reaching a wider audience of people who don’t necessarily have access to the internet. We also require funding to provide refreshments and buy necessary materials for the skill sharing sessions.
"" The Common House is a place where freedom of expression and freedom of assembly actually haooen and are not just words on paper."
Clive Aruede, London Black Athiests, Common House Group Member"