Wac Arts are custodians of the Grade 2 listed Old Town Hall in Camden. The Old Town Hall, built in 1878, has always been a platform for those who found a voice through the arts and has a rich history of change-makers. Inside Out Wac Arts (IOWA) will make our home more accessible, sustainable and offer more opportunities for community-led engagement for people of all ages.
We consulted our community and young people told us they want ‘outside play and performance spaces, an improved café, more green spaces and more community spaces’. Our older Londoners asked us to ‘keep the building’s grand appearance while making it more accessible.’
We currently have an annual footfall of 96,000. As we work towards our ambition to develop our intergenerational offer, IOWA will facilitate us connecting with an even greater number and range of people in a variety of ways:
- Expanding our café/terrace space will open us to new members of the community.
- IOWA will enable us to offer a welcoming and safe meeting place. The new spaces will allow year-round, community-led creative activities to combat isolation and promote both social cohesion andinteraction between people of all ages.
- Increasing the accessibility of our building will increase our numbers across all users. For example, IOWA will enable more people over 55 and more young people with Special Education Needs & Disabilities (SEND) to participate.
- Events in our new public-facing areas will be supported by volunteers. We will grow and evolve our current model to engage 100 active volunteers including younger and older beneficiaries.
The creation of dedicated flexible performance space will open up a wealth of opportunities for Wac Arts. These includenew,specialist higher education coursesfor 75 students a year aged 18+ with progression routes into employment in the creative industries or further study.
IOWA project costs are in the region of £3.2million.
The development of the project is supported by the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund and is delivered through the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP). Camden Council is committed to the Old Town Hall as a community asset, and Belsize Park Ward Councillors recently collaborated to secure local CIL fundsfor IOWA.Wac Arts are working with the GLA Regeneration team and have applied to the Good Growth Fund in October for 50% of the full cost of the project. We are therefore making applications to Trusts and Foundations and donations to meet a matched funding target of £1.6million.
Wac Arts needs to raise funds for IOWA and for other charitable purposes