Introducing St. Katharine’s Precinct

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Over the next couple of months, between our existing buildings and the DLR, we’ll be installing some temporary structures, using building materials that can be recycled and used elsewhere.

We’ll be opening up to the community in a way we haven’t done for many years and exploring more about how The Foundation can better engage with its local community.

We hope to create a place where people will enjoy coming together over food and drink or to just find some peace, and reflect. Where you can work to build community and improve people’s wellbeing. Where people can come together with others to explore their creativity and perhaps start up that project or talk about that idea they’ve been thinking about for a while but haven’t known quite what to do with.

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You can see the full planning application here.

What exactly will be there?

1. The Yurt Cafe & Reflective Space

RFSK has a long history providing excellence in hospitality and will open a new Yurt Café serving a range of hot & cold drinks, snacks and light meals. There will be a clear focus on wellbeing with food cooked on site using high quality produce from local suppliers. The cafe will be set in a large 27ft yurt, unique to London, will hold events and be available for private hire. It will connect to a smaller yurt providing reflective space – somewhere to escape and think – open to all.

2. Community & Wellbeing Hub

The new phase of the Foundation’s work in the community will look both to build and improve the community as a whole, while also supporting inner personal and social wellbeing. The hub, made from six converted shipping containers, will be different from a community centre or church hall, and will instead be run to enhance and connect the many community organisations now doing good work in the area. The hub’s primary focus will work towards a model of developing wellbeing that connects to and underpins this growing social awareness, through helping to facilitate community led projects and developing supportive connections needed for the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of true wellness. It will provide space for open discussion, reflection, deep thinking and professional support to encourage existing and new social networks.

3. Artspace

Working in partnership with local charity Bow Arts, there will be a creative cluster of 12 artists working out of converted shipping containers on one corner of the site. Bow Arts will manage this space. Bow Arts is a highly skilled and experienced developer and manager of creative spaces across east and outer east London.

4. Outdoor cinema (from summer 2016)

Made simply of graded earth to form an outdoor amphitheatre, this will help establish the project as a destination, as well as promoting culture, arts and the discussions they inspire. This space could host silent cinema showings, dance, theatre and other kinds of performance and the Foundation will work to create a diverse programme of events beginning next summer.

This offering was based on an initial round of research carried out by our Community Coordinator Andrea Gibbons (she will be posting about the report and shortly).

We hope that this new space will create a space for conversations to happen, will make inspiration flow, and allow people to explore their connections to the city, to the earth, to their spirituality, and to each other.

Why St. Katharine’s Precinct?

St. Katharine’s Precinct existed for hundreds of years until the docks were expanded in 1825, and was where up to 3,000 people lived and worked. It was a place of huge excitement and anticipation, where many arrived in London to start their working lives. Through this project we hope to tell the remarkable story of this ancient precinct and hopefully re-capture some of its excitement and spirit.

When will it open?

We are planning to install the buildings during August and to open fully to the public during September.

How do I find out more and get involved?

To keep up to date with our progress, you can follow the precinct twitter feed @SKPrecinct and keep an eye on this blog.