A community centre serving former residents and other people affected by the Grenfell tragedy has opened a new educational area – with help from Kensington & Chelsea College students.
Based in The Curve Community Centre, the Opportunities and Learning hub enables users of the Centre to access space and a range of IT resources to help them with employment and other life priorities. The zone was created on a zero budget utilising the skills and commitment of students and a range of local companies.
A group of Interior design students from KCC’s nearby centre on Wornington Road worked with the Curve, social enterprise ‘ConnecMe2’ and the businesses to help create a professional and welcoming environment for the Centre’s users.
An opening ceremony on 3rd May brought together all those involved in the project, including students from the College and representatives of the businesses, together with staff and users of the Curve.
Amy Cosshall, one of the students who designed the hub, and studies Interior Design & Architecture Level 3 BTEC said: “It’s actually quite overwhelming! You don’t actually realise how it can all come together at first because you think ‘It’s quite a big project, are we actually going to do it? We’re just studying!’ But when we started work with the company and actually started to see ideas come together – wow, we can actually do it!”
Fellow student Natacha Fedrid added: “When we first visited the Centre, the learning space was not very welcoming and was partitioned off from the rest of the room. A lot of thought went into it, as we felt it needed to be open and accessible environment. It was very meaningful for me to get involved and it was great for us to see the project from beginning to the end.”
David Falcioni, the teacher of Interior Design at Kensington & Chelsea College who introduced the assignment to the students, said: “The students were delighted to have the brief of designing the computer room for the community centre and did their initial research within the community who had been affected by the Grenfell tragedy. Usually when I give projects to the students, they’re hypothetical, so seeing something realised is quite amazing, not only for the fact that this is the final outcome of all the developmental work but also because of the way it’s going to affect the Centre’s users”.
The students worked with 11 companies who each supplied various aspects of the fittings, furnishings and technology in the room. As well as being integral to the success of the project, the students also got invaluable ‘real world’ experience, working closely with the suppliers and the Curve’s managers to deliver the project on time.
Brian Trueman of I Wall, who coordinated the business suppliers, said: “The students were all very willing to get on with the practical project and make it work. They used the skills they are learning in College to help get excellent results for the centre.”
Amanda Vokes of Graphics Company EPL, who provided bespoke graphics for the glass partitions, said: “It was lovely to work with the Design students who showed such passion and vision for the project. They travelled down to our offices in Tunbridge Wells so they could see the whole process from ideas and design through to the finished products. They really knew what they wanted and, as well as learning more about the industry themselves, were able to demonstrate their skills and vision to us. It is exceptional for us to work with design clients who have such enthusiasm and creativity.”
Curve training officer Chrissy Charles said that the new area would give Curve users access to learning opportunities, the chance to get qualification and complete job applications. It is also available for community enterprise activities. Centre user Harley-Dee Thompson said: “I am using the computer area to do applications and look for courses. It’s helped me with planning my future.” Another Curve user added: “I’ve been coming here regularly since the centre opened. This new facility is excellent, it’s very welcomed, a good idea.”
The Centre is accessible to all North Kensington residents and is located on Bard Road, W10 6TP. You can find out more here.