Libreria – a bookshop by Second Home
In collaboration with Gabriela Spangenthal
Language Labs was conceived out of a desire to repurpose Second Home's bookshop Libreria on a Monday to benefit the local community as it was closed and just sat vacant. Space is such a vital resource in London, especially for community groups and local charities, and we wanted to find a way for Second Home to give back.
The first group of students started in September 2017 and Language Labs has run every Monday since. The initiative was primarily designed in collaboration with education body ELATT to support Tower Hamlets migrants who were looking to learn practical English language and literacy skills in order to seek employment. As it evolved it also became an opportunity for the local community to come together and connect with our membership community at Second Home.
Over the last three years Language Labs has hosted formal qualification classes, ran conversational classes with our members, programmed workshops by our members for the students and collaborated with community groups and charities to run local community empowerment campaigns.
Come Together: Lunchtime Feast
We organised a special lunchtime menu cooked by our students for our members to raise money for our Language Labs partner Citizen UK – a charity that organises communities to come together to create social justice and the common good.
The students as a group designed a delicious menu inspired by the flavours of their homelands which included Bangladeshi, Moroccan, Tunisian and Sudanese.
#PickItUp Litter Campaign
#PickItUp was a campaign started by the students and volunteers of Language Labs. As part of a Tower Hamlet's community cohesion programme in partnership with Citizens UK, we wanted to engage our students with local issues in their community through various classes and workshops.
The issue our students wanted to address for a community campaign was excessive pollution and littering in the borough, particularly of single use plastics. So we organised the #PickItUp litter pick up campaign with members of ELATT, Citizens’ UK, Blue Dot Generation, Second Home and various members of their community, as well as local school Christ Church C of E Primary School.
Together we organised a local community litter pick up, created a poster campaign using drawings made by local schoolchildren and ran a Spacehive crowdfunding campaign.