Pembroke House & St Christopher’s Church continue to make an outstanding contribution to Walworth and Pembroke College. There are now more and more projects taking place within our refurbished buildings. Here are some highlights.
The Pembroke Academy of Music is doing very well under its new Director, Elizabeth Andrews, who started in January. It is a splendidly multicultural organisation with 13 ethnicities registered among the 50 children. Parents are getting involved in the community choir. The traditional emphasis on music theory has been retained, and as the evening progresses every corner and room in the building is filled with people making music at all sorts of levels and in all sorts of ways. The new management committee is working very well, creating a strong sense of ownership and responsibility among those most involved with the Academy. Together they are planning for more ensemble work, and, in due course, an orchestra.
The Pembroke Pocket Garden has flourished with the devoted attention of Kathleen Murray (Pem 2005). Ernst & Young has provided volunteer labour. The garden is a little oasis of peace in a very built-up area. The approach to gardening is organic and sustainable, with an emphasis on food production. Seed is being used from last year’s crops, and the food grown is a contribution to the Pembroke Lunch Club. Fruit trees are growing well. We hope to develop an after school gardening club. The space is used by other projects, and by groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, who come to Pembroke House.
The Pembroke Lunch Club provides wonderful and unexpected food for older people who would otherwise be eating alone. Described by the Warden, David Evans, "as, “a raffish, naughty and energetic group”" it is one of the best places to get a sense of what Walworth and Pembroke House are all about. David makes a point of inviting those interested in Pembroke House to meet the Lunch Club, where the food and the participants are fresh, local, and full of flavour.
The Residency, adjacent to Pembroke House, is now a key part of the way the House operates. A reduced rent is on offer for those who are involved in the life of the House (providing they can pass the cooking audition run by the current residents) and a strong community is building up. This residency is one of the ways in which Pembroke House fulfils the original vision of a “settlement”, where living locally, learning and receiving are just as important and giving and serving.
Connections between Pembroke House and Pembroke College remain strong and positive. The Carol Service, when the Chapel Choir sings in St Christopher’s is always a great success. The return visit of St Christopher’s to Pembroke College Chapel at the beginning of the Easter Term fills the chapel with children and music and incense, and gives the College an opportunity to be hospitable in turn.