Gnome House April Newsletter

2020 – 2021 a year in review at Gnome House Community Arts Centre

A message from Jane and Melissa

A Zoom art class – one of the many online activities provided by the Gnome House Virtual Community Centre

Our Virtual Community Centre
Last Spring, we realised how important it would be to keep all the many connections we have at Gnome House alive during lockdown. To do this, we came up with the idea of creating a Virtual Community Centre. We applied for funding from Arts Council England, the National Lottery and Waltham Forest Council. All three organisations loved the idea and their funding allowed us to create an online platform that hosted a wide range of activities from Gnome House’s regular providers as well as new providers from Waltham Forest and further afield.

A year after the first lockdown we’ve taken the chance to look back at everything that’s happened at Gnome House Community Arts Centre. We are very happy that we’ve managed to keep going over the past 12 months, supporting so many of our lovely providers to continue offering creative activities to the community despite the barriers we’ve all faced during the pandemic.

A selection of art work made by local children and young people during lock-down – all supported by Gnome House

Through the Virtual Community Centre’s online platform we’ve offered low cost and free activities to people of all ages to take part in during the lockdowns including:

  • Art classes for both adults and children
  • Spoken word workshops
  • Circus skills for families at home
  • Pilates and yoga classes
  • High intensity exercise classes
  • Cooking and baking classes
  • Children’s theatre workshops
  • Dance classes for different ages
  • Live online jazz concerts
  • Live piano recitals from South Africa!

A Virtual Film Festival

Several Windrush-themed films made by Black Apron Entertainment were shown as part of a film-festival on the Gnome House Virtual Community Centre

The Gnome House Virtual Community Centre has also curated regular film nights featuring local filmmakers Leo Sykes and Martin Adams, award winning filmmaker Jonathan Goldberg as well as hosting a series of Windrush themed short films by Black Apron Entertainment

The Illuminated Cafe

The Illuminated Cafe at Gnome House – showcasing art made by young people at local schools

Mid-summer, we turned the Gnome House cafe windows into a screen for nightly showings of film and video as part of the ‘Illuminated project’ which showcased art from local schools including Heathcote School, Willowfield School, Highams Park School, Frederick Bremer School, Eden School for Girls, Kelmscott School, Willowfield School and Inky Cuttlefish

This exhibition was collated in conjunction with the Waltham Forest Cultural Educational Partnership Art Teachers Subject Network.

Performances by Big Creative Education

Students from Big Creative Education performing at Gnome House

In December, students from Big Creative Education performed their year-end theatrical performance under the inspiration guidance of their tutor, Janet.

The Ratpack: Young People and Gnome House

‘The Ratpack’ distributing Art Packs to young people in the neighbourhood

During the summer we also created a new youth steering group, who called themselves the ‘Rat Pack.’ They spent several days creating and distributing art packs for other local young people who were keen to be creative and express themselves. The Rat Pack have been contributing their views on how Gnome House should meet the changing needs of the community

New youth workers at Gnome House

Ratpack youth group at Gnome House

To support the Ratpack we have created two part-time positions for youth workers – and young people are also working as trainees and running the Gnome House social media accounts.
Black History Month Event

The Black History Month event at Gnome House

In October, we worked with Project Zero to hold a community event to mark Black History Month. We collaborated to hold performances and activities on the Gnome House terrace which was an event open to everyone from our community. If you don’t know about Project Zero, you can find out more about their activities to engage young people in positive activities here.

Hermanos Coffee in the Gnome House Cafe
Many nearby residents may also have seen Hermanos Coffee roasters in the Gnome House cafe. They have been keeping everyone going with delicious Colombian coffee and good vibes. Their opening times are 8am-4pm from Mon-Fri and 9am-6pm on Sat and Sun – so please stop by for a brew!

Save the date! Spring Splash on Saturday May 23rd 2021
We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at a ‘Spring Splash’ community event we are holding on the 23rd May which will feature music, an exhibition and food & drink. Please put the date in your diary – more details to come soon! 
Thank you to William Morris Big Local
We would also like to give a big thank you to William Morris Big Local who supported Gnome House with generous funding to cover essential bills during lockdown. 
Thank you to all the Gnome House providers
Through everybody’s hard work and adapting to difficult circumstances, we’re still here at Gnome House and looking forward to seeing you soon! 

Our vision is to create a welcoming and affordable community space with a wide range of accessible activities focussing on creativity and the arts.
The Gnome House Team

The Gnome House office is open from 10am-2pm Monday to Thursday.

Melissa:  Virtual community centre and Illuminated

Jane:  Space bookings

Lauren:  Ratpack & space bookings

Tom:  Facilities support

Board of Directors

Anna Alcock and Mark Burton are founding directors of Gnome House and work on a voluntary basis.

Social Media and Digital Content Provider:
Chissola: Digital content
Isabella:  Social media