Clapton Commons was set up in 2013 by a small group of neighbours with the shared aim of improving their local neighbourhood for the common good of all residents.
Actually what happened was this.
Mike’s mother was in her 90s and he wanted to find someone to help her go for a short walk each day. Although Jewish by birth and atheist by inclination Mike decided to reach out and ask the local vicar, William, if there was anyone in his congregation who might like to help.
No one came forward. But at the same time both felt that there must be people who lived locally who could. Some might call this the crisis of adult social care, but at a very human scale it set up a puzzle that needed to be solved – the challenge of Mike’s mum.
They recognised that people did not really know each other as neighbours and consequently local ‘need’ was not in touch with local ‘resource’.
To attempt to build these connections, together with a few neighbours, they set up Clapton Commons.
At the same time when they looked around the area they realised that there were very few local spaces where people could come together to get to know each other and access the untapped resources available across the community.
Just at this moment Hackney invited expressions of interest for the abandoned toilet block on Clapton Common, which seemed like a perfect opportunity to turn this derelict building into a community asset that would be open to everyone. The plan for Liberty Hall was hatched.
Over the last six years, Clapton Commons has been working to deliver this project, whilst at the same time building its network, supporters and vision along the way.
We are currently a company limited by guarantee, but applied in 2019 to become a charity.
A stronger community, working together for the common good of all its residents
To discover, celebrate and connect the assets present in our neighbourhoods.
Fr. William is the vicar of St Thomas Church. A former local councillor in the City of London, he is also the author of a travel book about the East End. To help him prepare for sermons he likes to play his accordion on the roof of the church.
Mike is a designer and artist. His sculptures of found objects have been exhibited at the Royal Academy. You’re likely to spot him running with his dogs on Hackney Marsh.
Brenda works as a finance director for a company based in Amsterdam. She is expert at setting up systems of accountability. When she’s not staring at a spreadsheet she likes to get up at 6 am in the morning to cox on the river Lea and shout at her crew.
Community Builder - Marcus Duran
The Community Builder’s role is to identify the individuals and groups living or working in a community that have energy, connections, passion and interest for the area, widening the involvement of local people in activities that strengthen the common good of the neighbourhood. This post is support by a grant from Trust for London.
Marcus became our part-time community builder in January 2018. When he’s not building our community he's working as a freelance photographer in various exotic Mediterranean locations.
Robyn Hood Gardens
St Thomas’ Church
Clapton Terrace Residents Association