Clubhouse is a collaborative, non-fiction short film. It documents a year-long art project set on two streets on a bpha housing estate from 2017-2018.

In early 2017, members of bpha’s Community Development team attended a Cultural Commissioning Programme Workshop to open their minds to how “The Arts” could be used to engage with residents. Could this innovative method tap into the residents’ talents and bring about a lasting positive change in a community on two streets in Queens Park, Bedford – an area bpha had previously found it hard to engage with?

An opportunity arose to partner with Bedford Creative Arts, a local contemporary arts charity that had previous success in creating high quality art within communities. With the partnership now in place, the Community Development Team secured £10,345 of Arts Council (England) funding to host a community arts project called “In-Situ” on Queens Park.

The residents came together with different ideas and soon got to work on several activities on their street. Turning an old dilapidated telephone box into a tree, developing a sport drop-in programme and creating a bug hotel on spare land were results of their hard work. The project proved to be a hit, it captured the imagination of the residents and allowed them to come together and celebrate the area they lived in. Residents that had originally shied away from being in a community, now could embrace what they had created and enjoy the benefits that came with it.

Bedford Creative Arts then secured a further £36,000 of funding from The People’s Health Trust to continue the good work that “In-Situ” had started and working with two artists from Bedford Creative Arts, a long-term creative community programme was created which the residents named ‘Clubhouse’.

The goal was to use photography, film making, drawing, animation and sound to allow the residents to express their views on the concept of home, community and the place where they live. Clubhouse explored the idea of place and neighbourhood alongside tales of sea monsters, animals and slime, the film combines observational documents of everyday life. The residents became the storytellers.

The Clubhouse film was displayed on garden walls, front doors, garages and sheds and residents were excited to see their appearance on the screen.

The Queen’s Park community has grown in confidence so much that it is now planning and developing future events; tree and bulb planting, participation in the Queens Park Multicultural Parade & Carnival, a family sports day on the back of a £250 Cash 4 Your Community Grant from bpha and a programme of film making with Bedford Creative Arts.