Celebrating art created at Arlington

10 Dec 2021

Helping people when they most need it and adding value in our communities is at the centre of everything we do.

On Wednesday 8 December 2021, we were delighted to celebrate with residents of Arlington and other homeless hostels in Camden the artwork produced during their attendance at Creative Space – a programme created and delivered in partnership between One Housing Foundation and SPACE.

Now in its 11th year, the Creative Space is a year-round programme of creative workshops designed to foster confidence and new skills. Participants are involved in choosing the programme’s content and use the spacious studios to develop their own work as well as to engage with artist-led projects. There is a range of workshops they can take part in including art and drawing, textiles screen printing, photography, graphic novel writing and music production. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Federico Gallo, one of the tutors on the Creative Space programme said: “As a fine artist, I learnt the beauty of art by sharing it, teaching, and allowing people to just produce work. I’ve been part of the Creative Space for the last seven years and I enjoy the atmosphere in the studio. I love seeing how people’s mood can change through art, coffee or simply having a chat.”

Aside from the social and therapeutic benefits of the Creative Space, what comes out of these workshops is artwork of a high quality. Some residents continue to attend workshops after they have moved on to permanent accommodation and even progress into further education, and work in the arts.

Raha, a former Arlington resident and Creative Space participant commented: “I’m an abstract painter. On the first day of the programme, Federico gave me a blank sheet of paper and told me to play. I still play.”

“I didn’t have any background in art but now I find it very interesting and read about different artists. Art is like my family. I trained as a midwife in Iran but I don’t want to work in this field for the time being. Instead, I want to help people like me; people who are fed up and broke so they can heal. Art is like a medicine which calms me down.”

Supporting people who are homeless, living in temporary accommodation or who are at risk of being homeless is a key area of our work.

The number of people who were seen sleeping rough in London between April 2020 and the end of March 2021 has risen to 11,018, the highest ever and almost double the figure recorded ten years ago. Rough sleeping is the most visible form of homelessness, however there are many more people without a home living in temporary accommodation or with family and friends across the city.

Arlington, our 95-bed mixed-use flagship homelessness scheme helps our vulnerable residents to move on to secure homes and more stable futures.

All our supported customers are referred to us by Camden Council through their hostel pathway service. We offer them bespoke 1-1 on-going support which enables them to build confidence, resilience and access training and employment opportunities. We work hand-in-hand with our social enterprises and commercial businesses to create a mixed, vibrant environment all under one roof, where our customers can be motivated to get on the right track.

Michael, an Arlington resident said: “Being an Arlington resident is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to take in the inspiration from the hard work, commitments, failures, and successes of everyone here. It’s also an opportunity to recover, exhibit your skills and express yourself. The inspiration that I’m getting from those around me fills me with a sense of hope and pride.”

Baba Jay, a former Arlington service user added: “I was homeless at the age of 15. Places such as Arlington save people’s lives. It’s like a family.”

Arlington also houses 44 units of accommodation for single people on low-income. All applicants are referred to us by Camden Council.

If you would like to donate to the Creative Space programme or join us as a partner to use our commercial space at Arlington to provide training and employment opportunities for our homeless customers, please contact Sarah De Winter, Social Economy Programme Manager at sdewinter@onehousing.co.uk.