In March 2022, the trustees of the Sands End Arts & Community Centre (SEACC), situated on Peterborough Road by South Park, Fulham, were delighted to announce that the Centre and its not-for-profit café were now fully open to the public. The Centre was commissioned by Hammersmith & Fulham Council, whose leader, Stephen Cowan delivered it at no cost to the taxpayer obtaining funding from Thames Tideway (£2 million) and Chelsea FC (£1.6 million) as part of their community contribution.
“We always promised we’d try and replace the Sands End Community Centre so I’m really pleased the new Sands End Arts & Community Centre is already becoming a destination spot and adding to our residents’ quality of life in this beautiful part of south Fulham. I was glad to have the opportunity to work with Thames Tideway Tunnel and Chelsea FC on this amazing project and particularly grateful they agreed to fund it. The trustees and all the residents who worked to make this happen deserve special praise, underlining how, when councils and residents work together they can do great things”.
-Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
Mae Architects designed this multi award-winning accessible and sustainable building, which is a contender for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2022. Some 35% of the new building is made from recycled products, including WasteBasedBricks, and the wood is responsibly sourced Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). The architecture makes reference to the heritage of the site, being influenced by the shape of the glasshouses that were once there. Judges from the Architectural Journal praised the design saying,
“From its presence on the street, to the exceptionally beautiful entrance, to the quality of light, to the way the buildings flows, this is architecture with a capital A.”
The Sands End Arts & Community Centre comprises a main hall, a smaller hall, a meeting room and the refurbished Clancarty Lodge (now known as the Lodge), which is the original 1903 park keeper’s house, as well as use of the walnut grove in the park and the old seed bank, which is being refurbished at the moment. There is also the café area, which connects to the main hall by an array of folding doors.
“Tideway is proud to have helped to fund Sands End Arts & Community Centre. We’re living in challenging times that require us all to pull together and support those who need it the most and the SEACC offers a safe and welcoming place for people to connect, socialise and learn. The centre is a fantastic legacy for Tideway and we are confident that it will offer opportunities for all members of the community in Sands End and beyond to get involved.”
-Andy Mitchell CBE, Chief Executive, Tideway London
The SEACC Trust, a charity whose trustees are nearly all borough residents, runs the Sands End Arts & Community Centre for the benefit of everyone in the local community to promote social cohesion. The not-for-profit café, The Walnut Tree, opened on 15 February, offering seating indoors, in the landscaped courtyard and now in the resurfaced walnut grove in the park. The Centre’s space can be hired for regular sessions or one-off events as well as being a base for long-term tenants; Lyceum Fit recently took space in the Seed Bank. In the future, SEACC intends to programme and host its own occasional events, exhibitions, and concerts.
“This sustainably-built centre’s low-cost spaces are there for people of all ages and backgrounds to hire and enjoy. We intend it to have something to offer for everyone in and around Sands End. “
-Cllr Ben Coleman, Deputy Leader H&F Council, SEACC Trustee
The Centre has hosted a variety of events already; from theatre and music rehearsals, exercise classes and birthday parties to community meetings, conferences and team building exercises.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to our local communities, Chelsea Football Club are proud to have helped fund the building of the Sands End Arts & Community Centre. The Centre will become a hub for greater community engagement, bringing together diverse groups from across the borough for a wide range of activities. We look forward to working closely with SEACC and Hammersmith and Fulham Council both through the Chelsea Foundation and wider Club to foster a stronger community.”
-Guy Laurence, Chief Executive, Chelsea FC
The Centre was developed closely with local residents and has been a five-year project from conception to delivery.
“Stephen Cowan deserves enormous credit for his vision, drive and unwavering determination to deliver this beautiful centre for local residents. It has been a labour of love and an exemplar of how local people and local government can work positively and constructively together for the benefit of all people in the community.”
-Tim Prager, Chair of Trustees and member of the Residents’ Delivery Committee
The new Chief Executive Officer of the Sands End Arts & Community Centre is Christopher Newport.
“This is an extremely exciting time for the Sands End Arts & Community Centre. We are recognised for our wonderful building and now we are ready to build on this, with the help of local residents, to develop what we offer in terms of programming and events to provide a service as unique as our surroundings. As a charity, we are starting to explore fundraising initiatives, so that SEACC can achieve its long term aims.”
–Christopher Newport – CEO, Sands End Arts & Community Centre
DanceWest, West London’s community dance organisation, has its first permanent home in the small hall at the Sands End Arts & Community Centre and is offering classes in its state-of-the-art studio.
“DanceWest is fuelled by a mission to bring the health and social benefits of dance to everyone in West London through innovative programming and accessible pricing. We are delighted to make SEACC our new home.”
-Rosie Whitney-Fish, Founder and Chief Executive, DanceWest.
Local design company Richard Chapman Studio created the branding and signage for SEACC and its website, www.seacc.uk.
The official opening of the Sands End Arts & Community Centre, which was a big thank you to everyone involved in the project, was on March 11, 2022.
If you would like information about hiring space at the Sands End Arts & Community Centre, please email email@example.com, telephone or pop into the building during opening hours for a chat with our administrator Kirsty Dickenson or duty manager Vannessa Lock.
Instagram and Twitter: @seaccfulham
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Sands End Arts & Community Centre
T: 020 3196 9431