The Copleston Church and Community Centre is a great place at the heart of our community in Peckham and we want it to be even greater.
- We want everyone to see Copleston as a space where they’re welcome.
- We want everyone to know that Copleston Church is radically inclusive, welcoming and affirming all people of good will working for the common good and seeking after truth
- We want many more people to use the centre and to attend the church
- We want a wider range of activities taking place.
- We want it to be the space where our diverse community comes together naturally.
So, we have bold, imaginative and ambitious plans for the future which will build on the amazing work that has happened here for decades. Now is a pivotal point in the development of the centre and church and we’re determined to transform it to meet the growing and changing needs and interests of our community. As the pandemic fades, our aim is to throw open our doors even more widely and welcome many more people in. We hope you will be part of this exciting journey.
Our building is a historic one which has served this part of Peckham for more than a hundred years as a church and a community centre. But it needs a new lease of life. We are looking to transform the building into a modern, carbon-neutral, multi-purpose, adaptable, welcoming and, yes, cool, place, that better reflects Peckham in the 2020s. We want it to develop as a destination venue, a place that is lively and inviting, a space that can be used for the broadest range of activities, so that the community as a whole are even more involved in the life of the centre.
We want to use every way possible to redesign and revitalise the space – a space that has so much potential, but is currently not being used in the best way and is showing its age. We are open to all ideas, big and small, to make Copleston more attractive and more outward-facing. We will continue to consult with the community as plans evolve.
We want Copleston to become a carbon neutral space with the highest environmental and sustainability standards, reflecting our long-term commitment to do what we can to prevent a climate emergency. We want the building to win design awards, inspire others and continue to be loved by all its neighbours. We want visitors to come in and say “Wow, what a great place!” And we want to reach a point where more people who live nearby say ‘Oh yes, Copleston, I was in there the other day. I love it there.”
At the heart of the building is the church - and that is a great positive. We are a values-based community institution - committed to the values of peace, tolerance, celebrating diversity, reconciliation and inclusivity – and we all see the importance of a spiritual dimension to life. The Copleston is rooted in Christian spirituality, but it is ecumenical in its approach and open to people of all faiths and none. Our building will never just be a commercial venue, a place for hire. It will always be a place of faith, as well as community.
At the heart of our current programme are activities that involve everyone in our community including people who are often more vulnerable – such as older adults, people with mental health and wellbeing concerns, refugees, the homeless, people experiencing food insecurity and young people. We want to grow these activities and make them more sustainable. And we want them to take place not on the margins, but at the centre of wider community life. All our plans for the future will seek to include and expand this part of our mission. We are looking to invest and grow.
A wide range of regular activities take place at the Copleston Centre, ranging from Capoeira and baby ballet classes, to Caribbean dance and scouts. We run regular sessions with older adults through our Older People’s programme. We are home to a small nursery school and we have opened a community café. The centre is the base for the Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers. Copleston Centre hosts film festival nights, music events and book clubs. We are hired out for wedding receptions and special parties and by schools and local businesses. We want to grow this side of our work substantially and to bring in more groups of people. We will continue to consult widely to ensure that development is in line with the wishes and needs of our diverse local community. But our aim is to become the hub for local activities and get-togethers
Peckham has a thriving arts, music and literary scene – we want to be a bigger part of that. We want to be one of the destination venues on the Peckham’s arts scene and want more local artists, bands and writers to be saying ‘I had my event at Copleston and it was a brilliant venue’. We seek also to widen the audiences for the arts in our part of Peckham, bringing in people who might have previously felt excluded.
As well as investing in our building and our services, as well as growing the range of activities that generate income and bring people into the centre and the church, we want to invest in our brilliant group of staff and volunteers, bringing working conditions and wages up to date. A key objective is to recruit and develop new strategic leadership so that we have staff capacity to take forward our ambitious vision. The person or persons who fill this role will possess dynamism, entrepreneurialism, energy, flexibility and a commitment to our values.
Alongside our spiritual, charitable and community mission, we want to inject a stronger element of social enterprise into the centre. We know that if we are going to fulfil our plans and maintain them, we need to grow our own income. A big part of brightening up and modernising the building is to attract more people into the centre – to make it a place where people come to work, play, exercise, socialise, hang out and celebrate life events. We are looking at ideas to create work stations, to build more flexible spaces, grow our community café, to make the main hall a more attractive and usable venue for a wider range of activities. We already work closely with and are inspired by local community centres with a strong people-led and social mission, like the Albrighton Centre. We also have links with venues such as the Bussey Building, the Peckham Levels and Hatcham House. They have different missions and business models, but we seek to learn from their success.
This mission is unashamedly aspirational. We want to transform our building, grow our activities substantially, reach more people, welcome more people, bring in a lot more money and boost our staff and volunteer team.
We will be talking to others, listening to others, and learning from others as we take our plans forward. We look forward to meeting you.