Building a harmonious and creative community in Bethnal Green
We want to build a harmonious and creative community in Bethnal Green
Our Vision, Mission and Values
To achieve our vision of ‘building a harmonious and creative community in Bethnal Green,’ Oxford House provides a community and arts centre.
Based in a converted Grade II listed building we use an amazing mix of spaces – including a cafe, dance studio, theatre, former chapel and work/hire spaces – to:
- Present a diverse creative programme with participation at its heart
- Run daily classes for all ages and backgrounds
- Tackle isolation by providing opportunities to come together, share and connect
- Run a community café, working closely with local suppliers
- Provide venue hire space for rehearsals, filming, meetings and events
How we work is as important as what we do.
We aim to collaborate with our partners, resident companies, and communities to create our activities.
We respect the people and organisations, we work with and value difference.
We engage with audiences, visitors, and partners to ensure we get better at what we do and how we do it.
We have an anti-racist approach in our work with people and communities.
We want to be trusted as a safe space to work, volunteer or visit.
We are energising in how we work and how we make a difference.
A (very) Short History:
Oxford House is a registered charity, established in 1884 as a residential centre for social and educational work among the poor of East London. Our early work, led by volunteers, was to tackle and reduce the impact of poverty on the community through creating clubs, projects and local initiatives.
Examples of these early projects included creating youth clubs, providing a mutual loan society, creating a labour registry and establishing a Poor Man’s Lawyer service for legal advice. Many of these intiatives subsequently became an established part of welfare provision.
We stopped being a mixed residential and community building in the 1970s. A major extension in 2004 was the creation of Oh! arts which included a 120-seat studio theatre, dance studio, gallery space and a community arts programme.
More recently, in 2019, we completed a major refurbishment to remove Oxford House from the Building At Risk Register. This project created a ramped entrance and large cafe/welcome space, repairs to the chapel, roof terrace, meeting room, lift and new electrical/heating infrastructure.
In 2024 we will celebrate our 140th anniversary and remain committed to supporting a community that still suffers disprorportionately from the effect of poverty.
Michael Judge (Chair)
“Oxford House is a unique Civic Space – where else can you find a theatre, gallery, dance studio, chapel and café all under one roof?”
Michael is Associate Artistic Director with New International Encounter Theatre. He is a theatre-maker who specialises in place-making, community, and work for young people. He has worked at Royal Opera House, Dundee Rep and British Council.
His first encounter with Oxford House was 20 years ago when he produced a young people’s theatre festival in the building. Michael lives locally and joined the board in 2012.
Robert Robinson (Vice Chair)
“Oxford House in a wonderful space to meet, enjoy inspirational culture, to learn and to agitate for change. The people who use and enjoy the spaces here genuinely reflect the diversity of the Bethnal Green we are so fortunate to call home. Come join us!”
Rob is co-founder of Notes Coffee Roasters, a thriving collection of coffee shops and bars. Rob began his hospitality journey in 2008, opening a coffee cart in a London market after finishing university. Having grown the business to 12 venues and a Roastery, he now leads on People and Operations.
Rob is a local resident and joined the board in 2016.
Ibrar Alyas (Treasurer)
Ibby is a Director at Credit Suisse and Head of Programme Management, Market Risk Technology and has also worked for Accenture and PWC. Ibby joined the board in 2019 and is currently Treasurer.
“Oxford House has been a pillar of Bethnal Green, always adapting to better serve the ever changing needs of the local community.”
Linda is a director and owner of local business, Khalsa School Wear, based in Bethnal Green. Linda has been a local resident, youth worker, school governor and community activist for over 40 years. Linda joined the board in the mid-1990’s.
“I just love Oxford House’s history and what it stands for. Every borough, every neighbourhood in the country should have an OH. I feel honoured to have been given a chance to serve its cause.”
Ery is a freelance Writer and Actor who lives locally. He joined the board in 2023.
Ruth is on the Senior Team of a secondary school in Bethnal Green, and has lived and worked in East London for 16 years. She also works as a Leadership coach and trainer with school leaders across the country. As a history teacher, she is particularly interested in the way Oxford House has participated in and been shaped by the history of Bethnal Green over the last 140 years. Ruth joined the board in 2023.
Martin is Head of People and Culture at Whitechapel Gallery, leading the development and execution of the HR strategy and contributing to the Gallery’s success through its people. With more than ten years working for community-oriented organisations in the third sector, he has held multiple leadership roles across diverse organisations covering homelessness, mental health and learning disability.
As a chartered member of CIPD, Martin is a qualified and accredited HR professional who also holds membership with the CMI.
Martin is a local resident and joined the board in 2023.
“Oxford House is a place rooted in history yet steadfastly looking to the future as it seeks to build a harmonious and creative community in Bethnal Green. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this journey?”
Sarah is Head of Access and Learning at a national museum. She previously managed the higher education programme at the Museum of London. She has a particular interest in inclusion and loves that Oxford House works with local communities to promote this amazing building and what goes on inside (and on the roof!) as theirs to inform and to enjoy.
Sarah is passionate about community arts and has been involved in making music and taking part in performances for as long as she has lived in East London (20+ years). Sarah joined the board in 2023.
John Ryan | Chief Executive
“I love the back story of OH and that we are rooted in Bethnal Green and east London. We have a future too as we help to build a creative and fair Bethnal Green.”
John has been the Chief Executive of Oxford House since 2008. He has over 30 years’ experience in leadership roles having worked for local authorities, housing associations and a national community and regeneration consultancy. He also has significant governance experience, including Chair of Manor House Development Trust (2008 – 2014); a key community partner in the 20 year regeneration programme of the Woodberry Down Estate in Hackney.
John is currently a mentor on the Future of London’s ‘Future London Leaders’ programme.
Jessica Ihejetoh | Heritage Producer Ani Howell | Operations Manager Ruby Holder| Cafe Manager Enus Ali | Front of house Anisa Khanom | Front of house Annie Gao | Front of house Kwame Owusu | Front of house & Cleaner Josie Sommer | Archivist Miriam Ashon | Heritage Participation Trainee Jordan Bagot | Cafe assistant Russell Dean | Cafe assistant Comfort Buabeng | Cleaner Agnes Asiedu | Cleaner
Bustling hub with 20+ community partners
Want to become a community partner?
We’re a bustling hub with over 20 community partners & resident companies and are always interested in providing more activities.
We are very interested in classes for young people during day time or after school clubs. Please contact email@example.com to discuss opportunities.
We also have affordable workspaces for hire, so get in touch if you are looking for a space to hold a meeting, workshop or event. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or review our spaces here.