Roehampton R.O.C.K.S Plans Community Arts Hub

Local mum seeks crowd funding to regenerate and inspire the community


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Roehampton mum and theatre artist, Orode Faka, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to open a community arts hub, Roehampton R.O.CK.S! The campaign is to raise the 6-month rent deposit of £17,500 to lease a Wandsworth council owned building that has been vacant for 4 years.

The building is on Medfield Street, which used to be Barclays bank and then Newpin, a family action service working with parents/carers who are experiencing mental health problems and with their children. Due to funding Newpin moved and the building has since been vacant.

Orode lives on the Alton estate with her 9-year old daughter and started Roehampton R.O.C.K.S! as a community arts programme in 2013 after winning an Unltd award for social entrepreneurs and small grants from Wandsworth’s Big Society Fund, Community Development Fund and Wandsworth Primary Care Trust. The programme set to establish a diverse and wider provision for children, young people and Roehampton’s wider communities.

This year she partnered with Roehampton schools The Alton School and Heathmere Primary school to start an after school arts programme, After-School R.O.C.K.S! and this summer, ran a 4-week summer arts programme, Camp R.O.C.K.S!

R.O.C.K.S! is an acronym for Responsibility Ownership Confidence Knowledge and Self, and is an artist collective and social enterprise start-up that seeks to use the arts for social change. One of the challenges has been finding neutral and affordable venues to operate, and the rent rates in Roehampton were so expensive that projects would always require arts funding.

The landscape of Roehampton is changing and there isn’t a central focus within Roehampton for residents to engage with, especially for children over 5 years old. Through Roehampton R.O.C.K.S! Orode hopes to bring Roehampton’s diverse community together.

Roehampton R.O.C.K.S! aspires to be a major new cultural destination, enlivening the diverse and vibrant cultural communities in Roehampton, and drawing new visitors in to the area. The space will contribute towards Roehampton being recognised internationally as a centre for community arts, arts for social justice, outdoor arts, as well as enhance, consolidate and restore its role as a prosperous community.

Tobi gets invloved with felting

How you can help?

R.O.C.K.S! needs to raise £17,500 to secure the lease or Wandsworth council will release the property back onto the market. Despite the community-focus of the initiative Wandsworth council have refused to lower the rent. The centre will be funded by a Membership scheme for users, artists, residents, community groups and organisations.

Memberships start at £25 annual membership for Roehampton residents, and there at least 18,000 flats on the Alton estate alone. So sustainability of the building is achievable.

It has taken time to establish a presence in the community and with the building more can be done to bring arts events and programming for Roehampton’s older residents too.

Donate, Get involved, Go to the crowdfunding campaign via Buzzbnk:

August 27, 2014