The Communities of Morley

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: through working with partners to offer courses delivered in the community (including at our Stockwell Centre), and through the community projects and initiatives that all our Centres regularly get involved with.

This week we’re shining a light on some of that work…find out more about the courses we offer by visiting our Community Learning pages, and read on to discover three community projects that recently helped Morley to get shortlisted in the Times Educational Supplement Further Education Awards 2021.

Follow the hashtag #communitiesofmorley on Twitter to find out more.

The VIP singers

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.

Image of visually impaired singers group, the VIP Singers

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:

PPE Factory at Chelsea

Reminiscent of war time, Morley College is 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.

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.

Classrooms and communal spaces were transformed overnight into a pop-up PPE factory with sewing machines and the expertise of the fashion department put to new uses. Volunteers manufactured gowns to a specified pattern using materials such as theatre drapes. Amazingly the volunteers went on to produce over 30,000 gowns in a three month period.

Photographer Joe Newman captured images of the project, one of which was chosen as one of 100 out of 31,000 entries to the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Hold Still’ exhibition depicting life during lockdown. The selection was made by a panel including HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and the Director of the National Portrait Gallery.

Listen to Joe talk about the project on the Morley Gallery Podcast:

Green for Grenfell

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 (below) 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.

The Communities of Morley is part of The X of Morley

What are the “X factors” that define life at Morley College London? The X of Morley is a campaign that seeks to find out…

Launched in May 2021, the X of Morley shines a light on the uniqueness that is Morley College London – from “Fashions” to “Diversity”, “Specialisms” to “Creativity”, “Performers” to “RESTARTers”, keep an eye on to discover more in the coming months.