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All Ages Thursday Project opens at The Old School Rooms in Hackney

Hackney Children’s Theatre and Clapton’s URC “Old School Rooms Families project” have received £41 k from the National Lottery for an “all ages project“ for local residents.

Hackney Children’s Theatre in partnership with Clapton Park URC ‘Round Chapel Old School Rooms Families Project’ are celebrating the opening of their All Ages Thursday project on the 12 September. The project is based at The Old School Rooms on Powerscroft Road and will use funding from the National Lottery to run a term time Thursday morning programme, of parent and toddler creative activity, dance for over 50s and an affordable community café with opportunities to learn to cook. 

Hackney Children’s Theatre is a volunteer-run, pop-up theatre  running since 2011 . It was started by Hackney-based dance director Andrew Coombs with the intention of bringing affordable theatre for children and family audiences to Hackney. The Round Chapel Old School Rooms Families Project is a community project based upstairs at the Round Chapel Old School Rooms in Clapton, London E5, that aims to support and engage families living in the local area. The project is managed by Clapton Park URC .

Hackney Children’s theatre with their dance project Adrenalindance have been running affordable dance sessions for children and over 50’s, attended weekly by more than 80 local children and elders. The Round Chapel Families project “runs a programme of free and donations based term-time activities and drop-in sessions for parents/carers/grandparents with under 5s. The weekly programme includes a Stay and Play, a Cook & Play club, a single parent social group, a creative session for parents & toddlers, a community lunch, a singing group for parents & toddlers with older residents from the local care home, and a social group for families facing housing struggles or living in temporary accommodation.

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will provide a weekly Thursday morning café and activities, where young children and elders will share time together. Elders will be able to join a dance session and enjoy an affordable hot lunch or even be part of the cooking team. Young toddlers with their carers can join in a make and play session and stay for the healthy lunch. The project will bring young families and elders together in a fun morning, helping to build relationships across ages and cultures, developing support networks , making friends and learning new skills .  

 Andrew Coombs a director at Hackney Children’s Theatre says: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery Community Fund a partnership with the ‘The Old School Families project’ will enable us to share our activities for young children with elders. This is important because it brings generations together in a playful way. We are excited to be teaming up with ‘The Old School Families project’ who already provide an excellent programme for children in the area . 

“The Round Chapel has, quite literally, transformed the first two years of my son’s life. Instead of pacing our small flat trying not to eat the carpet, I can now join the Families Project weekly sessions, meeting other parents, watching my son run around like a spherical gazelle, swapping baby clothes, enjoying the free drinks, encouraging my toddler with lunch and snacks, reading new books and making the most of a large, airy, bright space. It is exactly what I needed to feel part of the world again.  We also found out about other organisations that hire the space in the building to run activities and after-school clubs which is great! Don’t even get me started on how much we LOVE ‘Romp and Roll’!!!