The Dockland Settlements Community Cabin

The Dockland Settlements charity is building a cabin in the grounds of our community centre and looking for help. The Community Cabin will be used by locals for a variety of activities including elderly art clubs, children's parties, youth clubs, disability activities and a community men's shed.

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Project information

  • Location of project
    Rotherhithe , London

  • Submitter
    Ben North

  • Award category
    Regional Project

  • Prize won

Project Introduction

The Dockland Settlements Charity established itself in 1894 and has been helping people ever since. For the last 123 years we have been providing sporting, social, recreational and educational activities to local people from our community and playcare centres. Although we are a relatively small charity we have a big heart and are passionate about addressing the needs of vulnerable or disadvantaged people and improving their lives. Currently we operate from two community centres in Stratford and Rotherhithe and also run a playcare provision on the Isle of Dogs. We offer cradle to grave support with a focus on children, people with disabilities and the elderly.

The Dockland Settlements was recently granted planning permission to build a new "Community Cabin" at our community centre in Rotherhithe, London, SE16 5LJ. This new space will help us accommodate even more community activities for local families and vulnerable/disadvantaged people from Southwark and the wider London area. We already host activities such as a youth club three nights a week, an elderly floristry club, disability football, sports for older adults with dementia, kids football, kung-fu, ju-jitsu, gymnastics, zumba for people with visual impairments, Latino Bambino - where babies are strapped to the chests of their salsa-dancing parents, French for kids and the 'Silver Cheerleaders' - a cheerleading club for elderly people (the only thing you will ever see that will make you wish you were older). We also support other local charities letting them use our facilities for free.

The Community Cabin would also be used along these lines and local charities and small community projects that support vulnerable or disadvantaged people will be able to use it for free therefore supporting a wide variety of people and smaller, local community organisations. We aim to make the venture sustainable by getting the building of it fully funded and then paying for maintenance / staff costs through renting it out at weekends for kids parties - also at a reasonable rate of course! As a non-for-profit charity we aim to break-even but at the same time help as many people as possible. There is a huge demand in the area for children's parties that is not being met so offering the cabin as a party venue at a reasonable rate will help hundreds of local families and result in providing happy memories to thousands of children.

In partnership with another local charity, Time and Talents, we will use the cabin as a "Men's Shed" where elderly, perhaps lonely men, will be able to regularly meet up and have access to tools and workbenches to fix, build or just tinker with things in a friendly relaxed environment over a cup of tea. This helps address loneliness and isolation among elderly people. Similarly we also plan to use the cabin for an elderly art club helping to address isolation and depression among local elderly people. The cabin will also host some of the more messy activities for the youth club and Bizzie Bodies - a local children's education provider with a focus on art, design, graphics, textiles and 3D printing. We will also grant use of the cabin to parents watching their kids play football as it will overlook our 5-a-side astroturf pitch. We expect the cabin to be a well-used part of our centre and a venue that supports thousands of people every year.
We need as much help as possible and have already made a good start with pro-bono help from Alan Camp Architects, British Land, Rooff, Waterman and Aecom as well as funding from Southwark Council and are exploring funding from British Land. We still require a lot more help to make this project a reality however. We will need materials to build the community cabin and if Jewson could provide us with some help it will save us a lot of money, encourage other organisations and funders to get on board and allow us to focus more on raising funds for the remaining capital required.

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