Pembroke House and Southwark Council are working together to bring a former church hall back into use as a new space for the community.
The project, known as the Walworth Living Room, has received initial funding from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.
Some basic restoration work has already been undertaken and the building, which is just off Old Kent Road, is now open for a pilot phase while Pembroke House seeks funding for a full refurbishment.
Pembroke House is a charity which exists to promote health, wellbeing and community cohesion by bringing local people together in a common endeavour and bridging traditional divides to build a better neighbourhood.
In 2018, after extensive consultation with local people, it came up with the idea for bringing All Saints Hall in Surrey Square (just a stone’s throw from its Walworth HQ) back to life as a new space for the community.
The vision is to create a new neighbourhood facility with a social space and community kitchen at its heart, surrounded by shared activity, meeting and office spaces. By locating a range of services, organisations, events and activities together – all under one roof – Pembroke House intends to bring people and organisations together that wouldn’t normally interact.
Earlier this year, we worked with local people to draw up a Social Regeneration Charter which sets out our commitment to deliver a raft of tangible community benefits from the regeneration of Old Kent Road. These benefits are to be delivered right from the get-go as well as throughout the full fifteen-year programme of regeneration.
Projects like the Walworth Living Room will help us to make a good start on delivering on these commitments. And by supporting neighbourhood facilities like this, which integrate a variety of uses with community space and activity, we’ll make good progress on realising our ambition to sustain and foster the spirit of cohesion and neighbourliness that already exists throughout the Old Kent Road area.
We also hope the Walworth Living Room will complement the council-run community space at 231 Old Kent Road. The two spaces could cooperate on projects, share facilities and 231 could provide a high street presence from which to promote its Surrey Square neighbour.
Along with nearby 231 Old Kent Road and East Street library, the Walworth Living Room will be one of three new community facilities to have opened (or been refurbished and upgraded) in the Old Kent Road area since 2017. And there are plans for more to come – including a new health centre, an arts centre and acres of new green space.
Read more about the benefits of regenerating Old Kent Road