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  • Community Hubs Network: Our centres are based at the heart of their communities, offering and hosting an ever-expanding range of services, public events and activities, and spaces to meet friends and contribute to community life. Read more...
  • Inspiring Employability - Career Orienteer: Career Orienteer is our unique and pro-active response to improving back to work support. At the heart of our approach is life-coaching. Read more...
  • Inspiring Community Centres - CCWeekUK: Coming together makes a real difference in our community, and we're community-led and community owned! @CCWeekUK #loveyourcc www.facebook.com/ccweekuk Read more...
  • Inspiring Young People: Octopus is delighted to be supporting the work of London Village Network in Islington. Why?...because we just love youth-led social action. Why?...because we think there's a lot of talented young people out there. Read more...
  • Urban Wild Places : Grow wild things, grow food, grow amazing flowers, grow vegetables and herbs you've never heard of before. We love our urban communities because We Can Grow in the smallest and obscure places! Read more...
  • StayWell, LiveWell: Six of Islington's Community Hubs have come together to encourage their local communities to live healthier lifestyles... how? Read more...
  • Growing Octopus Communities: We have the Power to Change. We are committed to developing our unique Community Centre Peer Network to grow our membership! Read more...
  • Urban Wild Places: ...We Can Grow - it's a YES until we are told NO! Read more...

The Importance of Community Centres
Community Centres in Islington have a long and strong history, and are often the result of residents taking social action to address a local need or problem. We are now building on this history to develop the next generation of community centres so that these important spaces are maintained for generations to come.

The New Generation of Community Centres in Islington work together and share effective practice by:


  • Developing inspiring projects that bring together residents, small groups and local businesses.
  • Engaging residents in the development of services and activities that encourage participation and engagement.
  • Working with residents in most need of support to improve social and economic engagement.
  • Supporting the development of community-led activities to improve local environments.
  • Motivating local residents and businesses to become more involved through volunteering.
  • Equipping local residents with the skills and motivation to improve their life chances.


Our History

The Community Association and Centre movement in Britain has had as its objective, 'the creation of a network of all-purpose and all-embracing neighbourhood organisations' (Broady et al 1990:12).  It is widely reported that the settlement movement had, from the start, emphasised the need for people of different social classes to meet, mix and work together.  Settlements and Community Centres provided people with the opportunity to work and organise together for the benefit of their local communities, including adult education social and cultural activities.

History of Community Centres 1 History of Community Centres 2

Community Centres and Associations have played a significant part in the life of many local communities and networks. To appreciate the nature of community centre work in the UK we need to recognise its roots in the activities of church workers; of mutual aid and friendly societies; of early social work organisations; and in the development of adult education.


It has long been cited, in numerous reports, that community centres play a major part in fostering the concept of community development and democracy - seen through the numerous individuals organising themselves into neighbourhood groups with the primary aim of attending to people's needs, desires and aspirations.

History of Community Centres 4 History of Community Centres 3


A Community Centre may be defined as a building which -  

  • Serves a community organised in an association which is responsible for the management of the building 
  • Provides facilities for the development of the recreational, cultural and personal welfare of members of that community
  • Constitutes a meeting place for voluntary organisations or other groups in the community which need accommodation.


A Community Association may be defined as a voluntary association of neighbours democratically organised within a geographical area which constitutes a natural community, who have come together either as members of existing organisations or as individuals, or in both capacities, to provide for themselves and their community the services which the neighbourhood requires. (quoted by Mess and King 1947: 73)


Octopus Community Network and the Islington Hubs Network is made up of 12 of Islington's largest community centres, and their social histories and the history of the buildings in which they are located are both fascinating and inspiring.  The Caxton House Settlement, Caxton House Community Centre, is one example of the 1940's response to local moral poverty, more than financial poverty, and low morale.