Through extensive consultation with young people, a vision and space for Spotlight, Poplar HARCA’s creative youth service, was brought to life.

In 2009, consultation with young people revealed an overwhelming need for a new youth centre in Poplar. With support from more than 20 local partners including Langdon Park School, Poplar Boys and Girls Club and Tower Hamlets Council, this vision was achieved alongside the wider redevelopment of Langdon Park School. The scheme was funded by The Big Lottery’s MyPlace fund, The Mayor of London’s London Thames Gateway Development Corporation fund and Isle of Dogs Community Foundation (now East End Foundation).

Over its 5 year journey, more than 1,600 young people were heavily involved in all aspects of the scheme:

  • Spotlight Sub Group: Developed for young people to work closely on the project, and to have access to project managers to ask the questions they wanted answers to.
  • Name and vision: Chose Spotlight’s name and developed 6 core values to describe its vision.
  • Design: Chose A Studio as the Architects, and helped shape the layout of the building. Young people emphasised the need for colour in the interior design, the need to feel visually connected to the different spaces and to feel safe.
  • Services: Helped shape the services provided, with an emphasis on music, dance, digital and creative arts.

Features of the scheme include:

  • Iconic building: Designed in consultation with young people, with standout feature lighting.
  • Music studio: Home to Spotlight’s in-house record label and artist development programme Spotlight Sounds, as well as a variety of studio sessions.
  • Boxing ring: Professional-quality space for young people to engage in sessions run by partners including Boxing Futures and Limehouse Boxing Academy.
  • Performance hall: Home to dance, theatre, music performances and more. Its sprung floor has made it the perfect location for companies such as IMD Legion and One Youth Dance to hold their programmes.
  • 121 rooms: Used by youth workers to give young people individual support and guidance, as well as by health partners such as Safe East and Compass. New developments in this area of Spotlight will allow the 121 rooms to be used by Tower Hamlets GP Care Group as part of the Health Spot initiative.
  • Café: Run by a local business in the daytime, and provides a hang-out space for young people in the evenings.

Since its launch in 2014, Spotlight continues to provide free creative, active and inspirational programmes for young people.

Find out moreVisit Spotlight website
“Although I may not be very good at spelling or being able to put all my ideas on paper, by coming to Spotlight I’ve been able to express myself creatively and you get to be yourself here. It’s just pure creativity and what I’m interested in doing.”

Chelsea, Spotlight participant

Designed in consultation with 1,600+ young people

Boxing gym, music studio & performance hall

Free creative, active & inspirational programmes for young people

Project Complete

This project was completed in July 2014