Morley has been at the heart of its communities for over 130 years thanks to the vision of founders Emma Cons and Samuel Morley at Waterloo, and thanks to the support of passionate local communities in Chelsea and North Kensington.

That’s reflected in two ways:

1. Through working with partners to offer courses delivered in the community (including at our Stockwell Centre).

2. Through the community projects and initiatives that all our Centres regularly get involved with.

Our Waterloo-based Community Learning team, supported by Lambeth Adult Learning, works in partnership with St Thomas’ Hospital to support their VIP Singers Group. VIP stands for Visually Impaired People, and membership ranges from those who’ve never been able to see, to those with degenerative conditions, to sighted and supportive allies.

In normal circumstances the group meets at the hospital every Saturday morning, but with the onset of lockdown, from summer 2020 the group has met via videoconference instead.

Hear more about the VIP Singers in an interview between Community Learning Manager Marianne Fenney and tutor Cerys Hogg in Community Conversations podcast on Morley Radio.

When the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit in Spring 2020, there was a well-documented shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals and medical centres across the land. When the team at Chelsea received a plea from the nearby Royal Brompton Hospital for gowns after promised supplies of PPE did not arrive, they responded immediately.

Reminiscent of war time, Morley College was converted into a space for NHS Volunteers to help design, sew and package makeshift PPE from converting theatre drapes into gowns which are then distributed to Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust hospital on the front line fighting Covid 19.

Listen to Joe talk about the project in the Morley Gallery Podcast on Morley Radio.

Our North Kensington Centre sits at the epicentre of the local community and takes an active role in supporting local residents and those who work in the area in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017. It is a vital part of our ongoing commitment to our community that Grenfell features not only in activity relating to the memory of those lost, but to the story of our future.

In commemorating the third anniversary of the tragedy – during the height of Lockdown 1.0 in June 2020 – our staff and students designed and took part in a Green for Grenfell art and photography project, creating a collage image (above) as an expression of solidarity with the community.

The fourth anniversary of the tragedy will take place on Monday 14 June 2021, and Morley will once again stand with the community to mark this moment. #foreverinourhearts