Our Community Engagement Manager Nichola Charalambou is now focused on nurturing and growing our relationships with local organisations and communities whose members are older people, and those who may have difficulty accessing local heritage sites. Here she gives an update on everything that has happened over the last few difficult months, and what is planned for the future…
The Soundscape which launched earlier this year has been a great tool for creative engagement across our communities, including Open House London in September which was lots of fun. If you haven’t already had a chance to listen to our Community Engagement Soundscape, here’s the link – best enjoyed with headphones!
Here are some of the recent highlights…
- Charterhouse Lives
This is a monthly event on Zoom which was set up in lockdown and continues to be popular! It’s an informal way of bringing our communities together with a behind the scenes peek at life behind the walls at The Charterhouse. We invite a member of staff, volunteer or Brother to talk about their experiences and then we open up the Zoom room for Q&A, which is always packed with thoughtful questions and discussion.
- Monthly BlindAid Creative Writing Workshops (Blind & visually impaired adults)
BlindAid is one of our Community Partners and we are delighted to have been working with them since the beginning of the programme in 2019, when they visited The Charterhouse for a tactile tour of the Chapel, talks by staff & Brothers and coffee afternoons. We moved online during lockdown and our monthly creative writing workshops continue to reach those who are isolated and link with a different Charterhouse theme each time. Content has included our Soundscape and the wonderful Learning videos made especially for The Charterhouse. We are planning more workshops with BlindAid next year!
- Creative Writing Masterclasses with Claremont Project (older people, mainly Islington based)
Following the very successful Zoom Art Workshops with the Claremont Project, we facilitated a series of Creative Writing Masterclasses with a smaller group of older people, where we were able to dig deeper into our Charterhouse Great Chamber portraits and take creative inspiration from them. We are talking to the Claremont Project about new themes and ventures for next year, including our Charterhouse Tapestries, which are now restored and hanging in their own room – looking splendid!
- Charterhouse, Claremont & Co Connecting Communities Coffee Club
In a busy Community Engagement Programme, we were aware of the need to find time to bring together those who are most isolated across our communities and who may not have been attending previous workshops or events. We now co-host the fortnightly Zoom Coffee Club with the Claremont Project’s Clinical Services Manager. We have also invited our friends at BlindAid to join us and there is always a Charterhouse Brother or two to help welcome everybody. This is a small & sociable wellbeing meetup, where we share a virtual cuppa and get to know each other better though discussion and icebreaker games. Coffee Clubs will continue next year.
- Community Engagement Forum Meetings
Our Charterhouse Community Engagement partners are an essential part of the Programme and was formed in 2019. We are still going strong with regular online meetings and are looking forward to our catch up in January. There was a real need for local support and there are no shortage of partnership project ideas flying around during our meetings! We will be further developing links with Islington Alzheimer’s Society, Arts in Care Homes (NAPA), Flourishing Lives, St Luke’s Community Centre – Islington, Barbican, Culture Mile & Museum of London who all focus on older people, including those living with dementia.
- Charterhouse Online Socials
Nothing stops us celebrating our communities and we have continued to have fun during lockdowns and bring everyone together, including our Festive Meetups. More to come next year!