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Annual review St. Margaret’s House

WELCOME We are St. Margaret’s House, a unique charity supporting community, creativity and wellbeing in Bethnal Green since 1889. Our projects anchor us in our neighbourhood providing spaces for people to eat, shop, learn, create and enjoy a diverse cultural programme. We are also home to 33 community organisations and charities. Our mission is to promote positive social change by creating opportunities for people to come together and play a more active part in their East London community. In recent years responding to local needs we have hosted and developed more and more arts and wellbeing events and activities, forming partnerships with local groups and expanding our established community projects: the Gallery Café, Create Place, Yoganest and Ayoka. We are now one of East London’s busiest go-to accessible community hubs and we desperately need more space and more modern facilities to keep up the forward momentum. The Barn, our proposed new Arts & Wellbeing Centre will replace dilapidated buildings to the rear of our site. Designed by Sergison Bates Architects this will be a building of character and flair that will bring new energy and vitality to our neighbourhood. We invite you to browse this overview of our work of the past year as well as of our future plans. St. Margaret’s House is what it is because of the hard work and dedication of some brilliant staff and volunteers. Bethnal Green is a special place and we are here to serve the whole community and to try to make things better and more inclusive.

Tony Hardie, Director

CONTENTS 2018 Impact overview


At the heart of the community


Yoganest & community wellbeing


Our wellbeing programme

Create Place & community arts Our arts programme

Gallery Cafe


16 17






Monthly exhibitions






Work with volunteers


Future plans Our proposed new Arts & Wellbeing Centre

32 32

Our friends


Get to know us


2018 IMPACT OVERVIEW 2018 has been another great year for us here at St. Margaret’s House, with our events having gathered more than 4200 attendees while we continued to pursue our aim of providing an eclectic and accessible art programme.

4200 attendees

23 Literary Events

86+ Free Events

8 Cinema Screenings

Here at St. Margaret’s House we are home to:

25 charities and organisations

15 Trustees

26 Employees

45 Volunteers

66 Collaborators

51 Live Music Nights

30 Educational Events

7 Comedy/Theatre This year we gave away :

2976 hours of complimentary use worth £41,310

We offer a wide range of free, low-cost or donation-based wellbeing classes in Yoganest and other spaces in our buildings.

affordable ÂŁ5 classes

1751 classes

270 free classes & workshops

The Create Place works with local artists and provides a richer mix than ever of free or low-cost classes and workshops.

15 Art Exhibitions

309+ free workshops

60+ classes a month

Apart from providing excellent vegan food and coffee, our Gallery Cafe is in every sense a community resource and an integral part of what we do.

50,000 hot drinks served

184 000 + enjoyed breakfasts

Team of 15 passionate about vegan food & the community.

Ayoka, our charity shop, offers afforable

products, opportunities for volunteers as well as a platform for recycling.

7800 kg of recycled items

1560 bags of donations

38 volunteers in our family


We started the New Year with a Vegan Celebration in our café, promoting sustainability and dispelling common vegan myths through a delicious menu. Everyone enjoyed comedy from Londonbased Dave Chawner and an awe-inspiring speech from World Record-Holder Fiona Oakes. Through March we curated a wide programme of activities for Women’s Month, led by an incredible exhibition that celebrated our local female heroes; To The Women I Know. The entire exhibition was made up of the wonderful photographs submitted by members of our local community. Responding to our call out for photographs of inspiring East London women, we received a diverse mix of images of local women who are making a huge impact on our community. Selected by these judges, the top 24 selected photographs are currently featured on our website. To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, we chaired Minding the Gaps, a discussion at the Gallery Cafe between organisations we admire, whose work counters the gaps in social and community provision for women. Our speakers on the panel included Joyce Kallevik, the director of Wish, the only national, user-led charity working with women with mental health needs in prison, hospital and the community; Olivia Head, co-founder of Bread & Roses, a social enterprise created to train refugee women in floristry; and Sabeha Miah, the co-director of Juta Shoes, a social enterprise who employ passionate, skilled, local women to make the shoes they sell and lead their shoemaking workshops. Amidst our programme we curated a night to celebrate the works from some incredible all-female acts; Yorkshire’s ME and Deboe, Bristol’s Circe’s Diner and London’s Jelly Cleaver. Looking at studies conducted by the PRS and Professors at the University of South Carolina from 2012 to 2017 on gender inequality in music, we aim to take this much further in 2019, using our small venue as a role model for all. The rest of the month we celebrated women through film, spoken word, as well as other creative practices.

Our family day, the St. Margaret’s House Summer Jamboree, returned at the beginning of September. We teamed up again with long-time friends of St. Margaret’s House to create a mix of activities for the whole family, with a particular focus on creativity and wellbeing, all for free. Our Yoga for Kids class gave children the chance to experience the effects of yoga in a fun and interactive way while participants to the pregnancy yoga class flowed through a series of adapted yoga postures and breathing practices.

of this Rhythms of the World workshop held by Grand Union Orchestra. Setting out to provide more events that give a platform to discuss different social issues, we partnered up with The IF Project for a series of events across Summer and Autumn 2018. The IF Project run free, university-level arts and humanities short courses in London. They do this with the help of 50 volunteer lecturers, drawing material from high-quality online content and teaming up with leading academics from various universities.

The talented Sarah Griffiths was busy face painting amazing creations and children enjoyed fun, mischievous and prankfilled activities throughout a drama-based workshop by Freshwater Theater, sparking their imaginations to encourage them to read on and discover more! Families heard and learnt some African and Latin-American percussion with Claude Deppa from South Africa and Carlos Fuentes from Chile as part

We’ve started working with East London Outside Project, an LGBTIQ+ centre whose core services include counselling and young people’s services, by putting on fundraiser evenings for their Walthamstow centre, in partnership with the hilarious LOLWordComedy collective. In film, we teamed up with the fantastic organisation The Film Bunch who showcase

short films from upcoming filmmakers from around the world. Their mission is to improve access for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to mainstream short films; providing English captions and BSL interpreters. The group also collaborated with Sign For All to hold an 8-week introduction to British Sign Language course with us. Acting as an ideal introduction to the language for those who may be thinking about studying for a Level 1 qualification in BSL.

51 Live Music Nights

Spoken word nights have been enjoying


An enormous thank you for the help in putting on the night. You made it so easy and stress free and I really appreciate it. I had a wonderful evening. Loads of people commented on the space and what a surprising little gem it was. I would so love to come back and do another gig here in the future! - Rhia Parker


the intimate atmosphere of our Chapel and we had two brilliant free, monthly events in our programme. Capital Letters is hosted by poet and University of East London English tutor Jonathan Mann, Phd. continuing to attract an ever changing line-up of poets for audiences to discuss works with as well as listen to. Extra Second London explores monthly themes with a great selection of poets to match the standard set by Capital Letters. The event also offers open mic slots at the beginning of each night, celebrating new material and performers alike.

The monthly Open Mic nights have gone from strength to strength, attracting regular and new performers and attendees alike. The audience is incredibly welcoming and the venue has been commended for offering a warm environment for both seasoned players and people just starting out. Our resident swing group, Shag Pile, continue to host their bi-monthly Cut a Rug events in our café and we expanded our Down the Garden Path event across three weekends in the summer, where we invited some of our favourite musicians to perform for our lunchtime café customers. Over the year we have also organised over 40 health and wellbeing related events and workshops in collaboration with individual practitioners and organisations.

With one of our teachers ,Charlotte Wiseman, we organised Step Inside, a day of free wellbeing events designed to proactively improve physical, mental and social health. For Mental Health Awareness Week we joined the global conversation with Keep in mind, a week of events to encourage the conversation around mental health as well as positive physical practices. One of our most successful wellbeing events was Somatic Movement for Womxn’s Empowerment delivered by Camille Barton from the Collective Liberation Project as part of our International Women’s Month programme. And towards the end of the year we celebrated our cyclists community with Chain Reaction, a day of learning bike

maintenance tips, enjoying a cult themed movie and useful yoga moves. Looking forward, we will be building on our arts and wellbeing programme and curating a new series of events for our local community, while also building the tradition of our yearly highlights. More information about our events can be found the next chapters of this report.

103+ Free Events


We have consolidated our schedule, making classes more accessible as well as increasing the number of affordable £5 classes. We have also introduced new styles, including Restorative Yoga, Feldenkrais, Pregnancy Yoga, Beginners Yoga and Tai Chi, Kids Yoga Club and Guided Self Practise Yoga.

The Yoganest studio has seen huge improvements with the construction of built in storage for mats and props, parts of the studio have been repainted and new props were bought in for our restorative and prenatal classes.

A massive “Well Done” for your recent work/upgrade at the studio!!

It looks absolutely stunning and students keep congratulating the person responsible for the change!!! Thank you very much on behalf of students and teachers!!

2018 has been an important year in the growth of our wellbeing programme as we developed our activities and improved the reputation of our studio.

- Anna Kritikou, Yoganest Teacher

At the end of October we partnered with the MindBody platform, to make it easier than ever for the members of the community to book their wellbeing sessions at the Yoganest or to benefit from a membership system. This will help students commit to classes as well as encourage them to increase the frequency with which they attend. We have built new relationships with the community, attending networking events and reaching out to organisations and practitioners with similar values to us. Out of this networking has come events, collaborations and shared resources.

Our wellbeing programme Our wellbeing programme brings people together to improve their physical and mental health. Throughout the year we have organised wellbeing related events and workshops, working individual practitioners and organisations. In total events with a combined attendance of 400.

several health and in collaboration with we have hosted 40 These have included

17 free events.

We collaborated with one of our teachers, Charlotte Wiseman, on Step Inside, a day of free wellbeing events designed to proactively improve your physical, mental and social health. Over 130 people signed up for the day and one workshop had over 60 attendees. The X-FIT for the mind session offered a series of simple evidence based practices to boost creativity, build stronger relationships, enhance motivation and improve both mental & physical wellbeing. The Mental health to mental wealth workshop demystified mental health, explaining the difference between mental health, mental illness and mental wealth. Other sessions included Yoga for Kids, an introductory workshop to Mindfulness, Vision Exercises, Conversation Therapy and tips and tools to for a plant based healthy diet.


I got so much out of the morning session and would have loved to stay for the rest of the day. I found your positive psychology session really enjoyable and meaningful, with lots of excellent ideas.


- Step Inside Attendee

One of our most successful events throughout the year was ‘‘Somatic Movement




delivered by Camille Barton from the Collective Liberation Project as part of our International Women’s Month programme.

In the aftermath of the #MeToo campaign, women around the world are calling out the realities they face on a daily basis and coming together to create the change we need to see. As powerful and necessary as these conversations are, they can also be draining and trigger painful memories. This workshop provided a space to emotionally and physically process these feelings, using movement and somatic exercises. Throughout the session, participants did activities to release fear and anger and to explore boundary setting, consent and desire. Mindfulness exercises, active listening and some time for discussion were also incorporated. The session was open to all people who self-identify as a woman and 18 people attended.

This was a brilliant session, beautifully facilitated in a sensitive and liberating way. This work is really important and it would be good to see it happening again, and maybe around other forms of oppression/trauma

- Somatic Workshop attendee

2001, Mental Health Awareness Week is a UK event supported by the Mental Health Foundation. Following on from the success of Step Inside, we joined the conversation and we collaborated again with Charlotte Wiseman on Keep in mind, a week of events to encourage mental health, attended by more than 40 people. Founded


50 instructors

In 2016 Londoners made 730,000 bicycle journeys per day, equivalent to 10% of all bus journeys, and 20% of all tube journeys. And that number keeps rising with changes being seen on a local level too. Many cyclists are commuting on their bikes, and while one in six of the 8.17 million un-cycled trips are commutes, over half of them are for shopping and leisure activities.

Many of our users and visitors are cyclists so we have prepared an event especially for them, as well as for any members of our community who would be interested in learning a few tips on fixing bikes, how to protect themselves from bike related aches or just have a laugh at a good movie. Our Mindful Mornings sessions gave students the chance to start their day with 30 minutes of calm to discover more focus, composure and energy for the day ahead. In the Understanding Burnout workshop students learnt how to understand signs of burnout and explored skills for prevention and coping. Using NLP techniques to feel good instantly was an interactive session, where attendees learnt practical NLP tools s to explore how thoughts affect feelings and how past affects future. The afternoon was spent discovering how yoga and mindfulness can help support health and happiness throughout teenage years. Tatu Bearcroft , a registered practicing nutritionist and long time healthy food chef, shared her knowledge and experience during our tailor made nutrition and wellness workshop.

So helpful, thank you for organising these sessions. I will be able to use what I have learnt today to support my mental health and wellbeing.

- Keep In Mind attendee

Chain Reaction was our community

celebration of cycling, delivered in partnership with Paradise Cycles and Tower Hamlets Wheelers. They offered free maintenance and security tips and hands-on support, our community wellbeing manager and yoga teacher Rosie Slay led a Yoga for Cyclists workshop, and we also screened the cult 70s film ‘Breaking Away’ in the Chapel.

In the next year we hope to develope a more regular programme, in order to build stronger relationships with audiences and workshop leaders and to deliver events which result in real, sustainable change.

We hope to run classes which address specific areas of need within the community, delivering the ‘buy social’ model with our regular timetable.

270 free classes & workshops


The Create Place gave me the space to research, experiment and make this piece. As a busy mother and someone that suffers from chronic fatigue, I was happy to find a space to retreat and focus on making work and friendships. - Wendy Ford, Art Sense Studio

We started the year giving the space a bit of much-needed TLC, renovating the workshop and upstairs studio, installing new storage and display shelving, and making a feature of our street-facing window.

309+ free workshops

We have significantly increased our offering over the past year and now coordinate over 60 classes a month, and more than 309 of our workshops this year were free to attend. These sessions are facilitated by the community, and include all manner of art and crafts, including sessions tailored to families and groups with specific needs. Every month, we host a free legal advice surgery provided by Malcolm and co. solicitors.

I started at the Create Place as an anxious beginner and found a community of local artists. I love coming to the Create Place. It is a happy space where local people discover confidence, creativity and community. - Kay Kante, ART4U2

We see the arts as a route to community building, wellbeing and social change. Our workshop, the Create Place, is a rare animal in London: an inclusive space for the community to be together and share skills.

We continue to develop, support and coordinate projects that respond to contemporary issues faced by the UK creative industries:

Our arts programme In the summer, we launched a co working space responding to the rapid rise in insecure working conditions for creatives, forcing many into unsteady freelance work. This is the cheapest co-working space in London, offering desk space, a meeting room, wifi and the chance to collaborate with other members. Our new creative partnership with Juta Shoes supports a social enterprise while it gets off the ground, combining sustainable fashion whilst providing routes to sustainable, well-paid employment for local BAME women.

Having our studio space at The Create Place has been amazing for Juta. It means that we can host our weekly community maker training and support times, as well as our public incomegenerating workshops. Since we’ve made our home at TCP, we’ve had six new women attend sessions, reclaimed 100 kilos of leather, and run seven public workshops. The support from St Margaret’s House has been absolutely crucial to our ongoing work.

- Juta Shoes

In 2017, a report inspired by East London Fawcett found that less than a third of the represented artists in London’s commercial galleries are women. Many of the artists we have supported for the first time this year

Our book club has celebrated its 8th anniversary and moved homes from the Gallery Café to the Create Place. The club continues to welcome those with a background in literary studies and those who read for pleasure, bringing together a group of people who share a love of literature and commitment to St Margaret’s social work.

have been young women, including Milou Stella, who led embroidery workshops; Melanie Johnsson, who taught textile graphic design; Francesca Centioni-Dene, who runs our Little Artists programme; Mellina van der Valk, who ran self-drawing classes; Sarah Simmonds, founder of the Portable Print Studio; Rosa Doyle, who explored natural pigment making; Charlotte Appleby, a couture beading expert; Sarah Richards, director of Olive Road garment repair workshop; Eleanor Tull, a postgraduate art student in sustainable fashion; Sarah Fox, maker of Tiny Victories Zine; Dulcimer Ball, founder of Sketch Appeal magazine and drawing collective, and Lydia Cumiskey, a paper designer.

As a trained artist and embroidery teacher, the Create Place has supported me in establishing my practice over the last two years. Its welcoming and friendly community has allowed me to experiment in a positive and laid back atmosphere and for that I will always be grateful.

- Milou Stella, Moody Bright Designs

We hosted Weaving Women’s Stories as part of Being Human Festival, a UK-wide celebration dedicated to bringing the latest humanities research into public view. A loom was specially built and installed in the Create Place, then we held an evening performance, a drop-in workshop for families, and a special weaving workshop led by award-winning textile artist Majeda Clarke. Together with academics from the School of Advanced Studies, we explored the connections between storytelling and textile-making in women’s lives from ancient Greece to modern London. Our friends at Phytology co-hosted a herbal medicine-making workshop, led by community herbalists Rasheeqa Ahmad and Shumaisa Khan. Participants got together to gather roots from the medicine garden, to be prepared to make remedies for refugees currently living in camps across France.

60+ classes a month Participants were then guided through the preparation of a simple cough syrup for personal use over the winter months. Wool Week, Offset Warehouse hosted a panel discussion event with three leaders in the knitwear industry. The event focused on the challenges brands face when producing sustainable and ethical knitwear, ethical alternatives to mass produced products, issues with quality control, and practical advice on diversifying income streams. For


Our friends at St. John’s Primary School created a display to showcase the work they made during Black History Month, filling our window with portraits of poets, writers, politicians and changemakers of our past and present. The next twelve months will see us roll out further initiatives that create opportunities for artists in LBTH, including an artist development series and a garden space. One of our most exciting plans is for the development of an artist in residence programme, where

an artist with a socially engaged practice will be invited to co-create a public engagement programme of workshops and events with our community, whilst working from our studio space.


This year has been a very exciting time for the Gallery CafĂŠ. After 15 years of being vegetarian, we took the decision to become 100% vegan and we could not be more delighted with how well this has worked. 2018 really has seen an explosion in veganism on an international scale. It has gone from what was a rather niche cause to become part of the mainstream and East London as a whole seems to be more on board with veganism than ever; whether people choose to be vegan for animal welfare, the environment or health reasons we like to think what we provide is so tasty it could even tempt some of the most committed meat-eaters.

Our spring and summer menu was very popular and it focused on current food trends featuring products like jackfruit tacos and a seitan burger. We were also really busy throughout the summer months and had two record breaking days in terms of number of customers. Inspired by the autumn weather and his Italian background, our new Head Chef Simone developed an exciting menu for the colder months that allows the chefs to be more creative. We have been preparing some lovely pasta dishes alongside delicious curries and soups.

We have still kept around old favourites so no need to worry about our famous burger or our legendary full English breakfast, they are still in the menu, but just in a new and improved way. All of our drinks continue to be popular and we are introducing some new items towards the end of the year. We are preparing



I swing by Gallery Cafe anytime I am in the area. The food is fantastic and the atmosphere even better. On a nice day you have the option of out from, inside and the large garden out back. There are always tons of gluten-free option for food and the coffee is on point. In Bethnal Green this is my go to cafe. - Google review

184 000 + enjoyed breakfasts

Team of 15 passionate about vegan food & the community. cocktails for our Thursday Lates events and Bloody Mary’s at the weekend. Our team have been working hard on these as well as designing a new autumn inspired hot drink to work in our collection of rainbow lattes.

I couldn't recommend this place enough. Their food is stunning with a great variety of vegan options. Try your favourite coffee with oat milk. In the summertime they open the yard, please take off your shoes and feel the grass while sipping their most delicious and reinvigorating smoothies. - Google review

We believe we have one of the strongest teams we have ever had and that really makes the Gallery Café the wonderful place that it is through their enthusiasm and dedication.

I have never left a Trip Advisor review before but I just had too! Coming down from Cardiff for my birthday weekend we came here and it was AMAZING. No two ways about it, the Daddio of all vegan cafes. Thanks girls and chefs, you were the icing on my metaphorical birthday cake :-D - TripAdvisor review

50,000 + hot drinks served


We are not only passionate about the impact that veganism has on animal welfare but also the huge environmental benefits that come from following a vegan lifestyle. That’s why we like to try and boost our credentials even further by constantly placing efforts in reducing our carbon footprint.

We source most of our ingredients from New Spitalfields market and we try to focus on British seasonal produce as much as possible as we love eating delicious seasonal vegetables when they are at their best! Most of our suppliers are London based, our beers are brewed in Hackney, and we have a long term partnership with Allpress Espresso, who handpick all of their growers to ensure their coffee beans are ethically sourced, and then roasted in Dalston.

One of our summer projects was our very own herb garden! We researched best ways of growing a variety of plants and our chefs pick up a fresh range of herbs from our own garden in the back of the café! It was goodbye to plastic bags and hello to freshly chopped parsley, coriander and so much more!

While we are happy for our customers to take away their food and drink (who can blame them with sunny Victoria Park round the corner), we use recyclable and compostable packaging from sustainable sources as well as paper straws to minimise our use of plastics. We offer forks, bags and straws only if they are requested.

In addition to this, we introduced a range of bamboo re-usable coffee cups that have been incredibly popular and we have become involved in an initiative called ‘Tuesday Night Bites’ where we donate any food we have left over to local homeless people.

BEAUTIFUL full English breakfast! It was worth coming over in the morning from Paddington to try their pancakes and vegan breakfast. - Google review

Events We started the New Year with a special event, to mark the Gallery Café’s transition to a 100% vegan menu. Our Vegan Celebration included a free gourmet buffet of fantastic vegan delights , arrival drinks, and special guest speakers. FIONA OAKES , a world record marathon runner, vegan activist, manager of Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary, and all round super-woman joined us for the evening! DAVE CHAWNER, a hilarious and award-winning comedian, as seen on BBC, ITV and Channel 4 had an amazing act all about the origins of food, ideas and views. He uses comedy to tackle misconceptions about veganism, benefits of a vegan lifestyle and the importance of looking at where things come from, and it was wonderful having him take to the stage. Fenomeno show provided the music for the night and the event was open to vegans and non-vegan alike, with the

wonderful cafe team showing everyone just how great being vegan can really be. Our monthly Open Mic nights have gone from strength to strength, attracting regular and new performers and attendees alike. The audience is incredibly welcoming and the venue has been commended for offering a warm environment for both seasoned players and people just starting out. The monthly event has seen over 120 performers take to the stage whether it be trialling new material, setting foot on a stage for the first time or wanting to sharing their stories. We have been astounded as to how attentive our audience has always been and count ourselves lucky that they help to create such a warm and welcoming atmosphere. As an extra gift to our audience, we curated two special Open Mic nights to be headlined by some of London’s finest songwriting talent; Yazmyn Hendrix and Dan Ferguson. We helped the band Tatcho Drum organise a vibrant evening of traditional

Hands down my favourite open mic to play

- Performer Romani music and dance from Russia and around the world, with guest vocalists, virtuosic music and fiery traditional Gypsy dance-art. We expanded our Down the Garden Path event across three weekends in the summer, where we invited some of our favourite musicians to perform for our lunchtime café customers: King Cassady, Balagan Café Band and our resident a cappella group: Voice Energy Project, who were celebrating their 5th birthday.

Shag Pile, our resident swing group, continue to host their bi-monthly Cut a Rug events in

– Platforms

We would 100% be keen to hold another event at the Gallery Cafe! We were really happy with the venue, support and service as we were organising the event and on the night

our café, providing taster dance classes followed by a chance to let loose with a live swing band.

Through the year we trialled several different regular music nights that highlighted music of the 1910s through to the 60s. This culminated into the launch of our weekly free music night, Thursday Lates, in partnership with Such Sweet Thunder. A collective featuring a seasoned group of London’s foremost musicians. Their musical stylings encompass a plethora of styles as virtuosic stride piano collides with stomping distorted guitar to create innovative interpretations of music from the 1910s to 50s and 60s; New Orleans R&B, Tangos, Waltzes, Swing, Jazz and Jive.

We would also like to thank the Sisterhood Collective, Sam Garrett, The Herron Brothers, Antarma, Liberation Drummer, Alice Phelps, Vitor Pereira Quintet, Mandioka Braba, The Black Smock Band, Owen Duff, Blue in Green Jazz Collective, Matt Horley Band, Shag Pile and everyone else that has helped bring beautiful sounds to our café stage.

Monthly exhibitions Our biggest exhibition to date took place across March as we celebrated International Women’s Month. To The Women I Know was a collection of photography portraits, celebrating our local female heroes with each photo submitted by members of our local community too. From women of all ages and all walks of life, these women are an inspiration to us all in the huge impact they make in the area. The difficult (but exciting!) task of deciding which photos would be exhibited was down to our wonderful judges: Maggie Pinhorn, Director of Alternative Arts; Polly Braden, a renowned documentary photographer, whose work explores the relationships between everyday life, work, leisure and economics; Olivia Mason, who was previously our very own volunteer art curator. The shortlisted images can be found on our website in a dedicated section: tothewomeniknow. We were also able to help two artists rekindle their love for exhibiting, with their first exhibitions for a few years. Tobez Marino

15 Art Exhibitions

showcased a captivating story in his selfmade myth How Oranges Became Sweet which explored empowerment, family and love, inspired by ancient Greek mythology and graphic novels. Abstract artist Charlotte A. Fleur, who had not exhibited since graduating from her Fine Arts degree in 2008, created an astounding collection of new works in New Beginnings, which was about exploring new challenges and expression in an uninhabited way.

Immuto Collective created a magical world inside our Chapel with Light of the Forest, an immersive art installation and sensory experience inspired by ancient shamanic rituals and the cycle of the seasons which over 250 people came to visit.

Bringing an end to our year was the delightful Naomi Pacific. At a market, Naomi purchased a photobook comprising of photos from Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Amongst the collection was a whole series of images, taken by anonymous photographers, of people kissing outside Hackney Town Hall after being married. Using collage and mixed media, Naomi created one of our favourite exhibitions in Hackney Kisses.

We’d also like to thank Rich Mix for introducing us to our August artist Ellis Lewis-Dragstra, as well as; our tenant from Arboreal Architecture -Tom Raymont, one of our old chefs Nico Baba alongside Laura Dyer, our Create Place artists, Rosa Doyle, Dalston-based Athena Anastasiou, Matthew and Gwen Joseph and Bruna Martini.

AYOKA As sustainable living is becoming more and more popular, especially in London, charity shops have become a great way to shop and not increase the carbon footprint. This trend translated also into our best year yet for Ayoka. Our location and repute for being one of the best places to pick up designer gear in the local area was confirmed this year as we’ ve been honoured by the votes of our friends that placed us as runners up in Time Out’s

2018 Best Shop in Bethnal Green.

The shops intimate interior mixes donated clothes with restyled pieces. Our customers can choose from designer labelled clothing, high street fashion, watches, bags, scarves bric-a-brac, vinyl, books and a variety of jewellery, all simply and skilfully presented. We are able to look at what both customers and our marvellous donors want how we can engage with them, fulfil their needs and build up loyalty. We have been inundated with wonderful donations in all shapes and sizes with more

than 1560 bags of donations coming through our doors from our generous customers and friends. Our window displays are, “the talk of the town”, always simple chic, and when it comes to upgrades, we always look for the most inexpensive ways get things fixed or looking better. The charity shop is a key part of the local Bethnal Green community and we cherish our close knit team. Apart from providing opportunities for members of the community to gain work experience and skills, the shop is an enjoyable and diverse place for locals to get together and socialise.

1560 bags of donations

Sustainability Secondhand shopping plays an important part in tackling the never ending waste that is left behind from fast fashion. Because not everyone can afford to splash out on ethical clothing lines, charity shops, such as our wonderful Ayoka, offer everyone a chance to shop responsibly, whilst still looking great for less.

second life for an increasing range of items, clothing, footwear, DVDs, toys, bric-a-brac for example.

Charity shops’ have a number of positive environmental impacts. They provide a

This year we recycled an estimated 7800 kg of unwanted clothes, shoes and bags from landfill. We continued to work with our long term partners Rontex, a local textiles company who recycles our unwanted items.

The UK charity shops’ reuse and recycling activity helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 7m tonnes per annum and only 5% of materials donated end up in landfill.

7800 kg of recycled items

Work with volunteers Our growth has provided further support for our volunteer programme as we welcomed 38 volunteers to our family. Without their generosity and gift of time, the shop could not operate nearly as well as it does today.

Volunteers are love in motion! – Ella Khron, Ayoka Volunteer

All Ayoka volunteers are excited to be part of St Margaret’s House. We encourage all of them to take ownership of the shop and get involved in all aspects of visual merchandising, supply handling , learning and managing customer service needs. We also have a number of student volunteers aiming to learn new skills or expand their people skills, while they look for their first job.

Volunteering in the shop also means making new friends, meeting a diverse group of people, having the time to grow confidence and interpersonal skills as well as getting support and guidance with CVs for those looking to get back into the paid employment.

38 volunteers in our family


I'm loving my new job, but miss working in the shop twice a week. You are all so lovely and it really helped me when I was in a bit of an unemployed hole. Before I joined the Ayoka family I would sometimes go days without leaving the house. Then after going to Create Place for some crafts on a Monday and going to some lunchtime yoga sessions, you welcomed me in and instantly picked me up and inspired me. You're all just wonderful, hardworking and fun and genuinely make a difference to our little part of the world. I will be back to volunteer when I can. - Rhea Taylor, Volunteer



The Barn, our proposed new landscaped etting - how do enew arrive? Arts& Wellbeing Centre

of the proposed building from the garden

idea is to open up the site to new uses new visitors as well as giving a better r to current tenants. This means making

As we continue to develop our extended arts and wellbeing programme, We are currently roving access to the garden and to the building. to the future, exploring the possibility looking entrance from Old Fordour Roadwork would with a new build and of expanding mproved, better signposted and show ouropportunities existing community services. econsolidate about the events and

office space to charities and third sector organisation on the first floor and on the toplit upper floor, under the sculpted roof, there will be a suite of spaces reserved for arts and wellbeing .

The proposed building has been designed to be both familiar and unexpected at the same time. Like the uses of the building it is to be modest, but engaging - inviting and surprising. It would be three storeys high, stepping down to one at the back out of respect for the neighbours. Whether for community meetings, one-off events or arts workshops, the ground floor will house a large new hall, available to everyone. We will also continue to offer affordable

We want to open up the site to new uses and new visitors as well as giving a better The St Margaret’s House site today offer to current tenants. This means making it easier for people to find their way and improving access to the garden and to the new building. Located at the north edge of the site , it maximises the courtyard spaces and opens up access to the Chapel.

lable on the site. A new courtyard at back of the site will extend the outside ce available and improvements will be de at the back of the cafe to make better of the garden. We want to be able to the garden at different times of the day, fferent ways, without disturbing current s.

The new facilities are also being designed to be as accessible as possible for as

many people as possible. Level access from Old Ford Road, as well as a lift and wheelchair accessible rooms mean we can expand on our current offer of services for those that have most difficulty to move around. New cycle storage adds to this access strategy whilst also working towards the high sustainability targets the project team is aiming for. Sustainability wise, the building would be a timber construction with stained timber cladding. Wood is quick to build with and traditional, but the use of colour and big, bold windows and doors adds a theatrical element, inspired by some of the uses that are to be accommodated.

The aim is to make a really energy efficient building, exceeding the standards required by the Building Regulations; a building that doesn’t need air-conditioning, and doesn’t need much heating or artificial light. Water will be collected Easy accessand forrecycled all and the buildings embodied energy istolow The new facilities are being designed be as accessible as possible for aswill manybe and it acts as a ‘carbon sink’ . It people as possible. Level access from Old Road, as well as asustainable lift and wheelchair economicallyFord and socially in accessible WCs (and showers) mean St order to be environmentally sustainable. Margaret’s House can expand on their current offer of services for those that have most difficulty to move around.

storageout addsmore to this access If you would New likecycle to find strategy whilst also working towards the about our plans or contribute high sustainability targets please the project team is aiming for. visit: publicconsultation.

OUR FRIENDS Providing support to like-minded charities is as important to us as our community projects.

charities and organisations that offer a wide range of services and support.

By offering discounted office rental as well as access to all our existing facilities, we pride ourselves in being a charitable ecosystem at the root of positive social change in East London and beyond. We are a tranquil and wellconnected place to work with a brilliant selection of lunchtime or post-work opportunities to get involved in. Our buildings are home to 25

While most of these groups have been part of SMH for a few years, we were happy to expand our support for the community by welcoming Globe Town Assembly, All of our spaces available for hire have been utilised consistently for a combined 3000+ hours throughout the year attracting a mixture of new and old users.

2976 hours of complimentary use worth ÂŁ41,310

We also have supported multiple groups by providing approximately 1200+ hours of

complimentary use worth ÂŁ22,200.

These users include The University of the Third Age, Tower Hamlets Labour Party and Globe Bengali Mohila Shamity. Activities in the spaces have been predominantly arts and wellbeing related making up 31% and 25% respectively. Religion/faith made up 10%, learning/ education made up 9% and the remainder was a combination of politics, community activities, sports and internal use. New users that we welcomed this year include British Association of Social Workers, Maze Partnership Ltd, National Childbirth Trust, Governors For Schools Somali Friends

home to 25 charities and organisations

of Labour Party, Sycamore Wellbeing, Plan Internatiuon UK, Francesca Lando (artist), Curiouser Health Coaching, The Film Bunch, ReSpace London, Radharamen Society, University of Barcelona, Platform Photography, Baker Street Film, Greenpeace and Solution-Focused Collective.

We have also built on our relationship with Oxford House and Love Bethnal Green and we hosted the Bethnal Green Networking Breakfast in October.

OUR TEAM GET TO KNOW US We are now a family of more than X employees, volunteers and collaborators who share the same desire to be useful to the community and make a difference, however big or small. Everyone is putting forward their best skills, always committed, proactive and with creative solutions and the excitement and drive to generate positive change is higher than ever. The trustees who served the charity during the year were as follows: Mrs Linda Ransom OBE (on the left with her family and our Director at Buckingham Palace) Miss Barbara Perrott Mr David Ransom Mr Norbert Lieckfeldt Mrs Shamimara Choudhury Mr Alan Green Ms Sandhya Sharma Ms Orla Houston-Jibo Ms Rachel Schon Mr Robin Froggatt-Smith Ms Niki Stevens Ms Kathryn Busby Mr Timothy Bell Mr Thomas Lau Mr Gordon Shrigley Ms Lindsay Harrod

Get Involved Join our online community

Find us on Facebook , Twitter or Instagram to stay updated with news about everything that is happening here! Share the news with friends and let us know what you would like to see more of at St. Margaret’s House.


We are more than happy to take unwanted items that need new homes. Clean clothing, shoes, bags and accessories, homeware, books, drop them off in the charity shop .More about it at: donations


Gain some valuable retail experience by volunteering in Ayoka, our charity shop or join the office team and support our Marketing and Events team. More about the benefits and how to apply at:

Dine with us

Just by stopping by for a coffee or a bite to eat you are not only enjoying delicious vegan treats but also helping us to fund several projects for the community!

Run a creative project

We are always looking for new ideas and partners to support our arts programme. Submit your proposal at:

Join a wellbeing class

Are you passionate about wellbeing and want to explore the benefits of yoga? Have a look at our timetable!

Plan an event

We can offer free hire and can help you organise it: whether it is a spoken word event, book launch, gig, exhibition, etc. Drop us an email at:

All information contained in this publication is correct at time of press.

Photos: Alia Benjamin, Greg Antony James, SMH archive, stock footage

St Margaret’s House is a member of Locality, a nationwide network for community-led organisations.

St. Margaret’s House 21 Old Ford Road, E2 9PL, Bethnal Green 0208 980 2092

Registered Charity No. 1148832

2018 Annual Review draft  
2018 Annual Review draft