The Theatre and the Community

The Exchange

A new project in Hackney Wick and E20 for local people by local people, facilitated by The Yard Theatre: local residents donate food and items that are needed, helpful and joyful and local volunteers sort and distribute them to neighbours in need of a little extra support.

How did the collaboration come about?

The collaboration came about through The Yard’s existing involvement in local networks and new relationships forged since the Covid-19 lockdown; The Yard has been part of the COVID-19 response via Compost, local councillors and Newham CVS coordination and volunteer groups. Through this we have been able to bring together housing associations, landlords, local residents, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), local charities and social enterprises to support local people.

Following this engagement and consultation The Yard had the idea for The Exchange to meet the needs of the community that had been expressed. With two community spaces one in E9 (Hub 67) and another in E20 (The Hall) we had the space and infrastructure in place to support the physical needs of the project. The project unfolded as follows:

– Finding Local Volunteers: speaking with local people, we received interest in people becoming “Vault Managers” (volunteer residents) who would coordinate stocking-up “Vaults” of donated items at our spaces.

– The Yard identifies households to receive packages of items collected via the Vaults, with close attention to GDPR and Safeguarding procedures. We also now have a mechanism for people to sign up to volunteer or receive support online.

– Fortnightly, following strict social-distancing and Health and Safety procedures, The Yard oversees local 50+ volunteers to create packages for households.

– Packages are collected from our community spaces, either The Hall (E20) or Hub67 (E9) or dropped to households.

Funding: We pitched the idea to East Village Management to secure funding to greenlight the project before approaching further funders to extend the project.

Will the project continue beyond COVID-19 lockdown?

Yes, funding permitting, we hope the project will evolve and continue supporting local people.

How was the project funded

Any other comments?

With an initial grant from East Village Management who manage properties in E20 and a subsequent grant from the L&Q Foundation.

In order of importance, please choose the relevant factors that contributed to the success of this project?

Response to need
Response to COVID-19
The 'big' idea
Social impact
Delivery of Project
Combination of skill sets
Combination of participants
Volunteer support
Existing relationships
Available funding