Poplar Community Pub Expands Thanks to Volunteering Project

The Tommy Flowers Community Pub in Poplar has been expanded and revamped thanks to a volunteering programme between home improvement retailer, Wickes, social enterprise, VIY (Volunteer It Yourself) and the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund.

Since its creation in 2018, the centre, which is the only venue of its kind in the area, has been running a variety of community classes, workshops and events, from knitting meet-ups and art exhibitions, to glassblowing workshops and karaoke.

Earlier this year, the centre was given permission to expand into the retail unit next door. As part of this expansion, VIY, Wickes and the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund worked with 22 students from New City College Tower Hamlets to install a new community kitchen, build decking at the rear of the properties to create a new outdoor area and redecorate the space. Following completion, eight of the participating students gained City and Guilds Accreditations in Carpentry.

The project was supported by the Wickes Barking store, which donated all the tools and materials required, together with covering the cost of professional tradespeople to act as mentors on the ground.

Dan Munn, Lead VIY Mentor said: “It’s been a pleasure working with the student volunteers on this project, they have done a fantastic job and the refurbished space looks great. It has been a wonderful experience teaching them new and invaluable skills which they will be able to use in the future.”

Nick Jobinaux, one of the Venue Managers said: “It was a pleasure working with VIY helping local students learn new trade skills on-site, which benefits the community as a whole. The students have made vast improvements to the appearance and practical use of the community pub and art gallery, and the project was highly enjoyable.”

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