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Colliers Wood Community Centre

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Published April 28th 2014
Get Involved With the Community
colliers wood community centre
Colliers Wood Community Centre, High Street

A few months ago I entered a photography competition as part of the Collywood Arts Festival. The theme was 'My Favourite...', and was open to three age groups (4-11s, 12-17, 18 plus).

I was told that the winners would be announced on the 26th April at Colliers Wood Community Centre, where they were holding an pop-up gallery, featuring Merton and international guest artists.

colliers wood community centre

The community centre has a main hall and rooms upstairs available to hire. These spaces are used throughout the week for various community activities for all ages, including Zumba, Zumba Gold, table tennis for the over fifties, and dancing lessons for ballroom, tap, and ballet.

colliers wood community centre, collywood festival pop up gallery
Pop-Up Gallery

It was the main hall that was being used for the pop-up gallery, where there were stalls featuring paintings, handmade jewellery, pottery, and knitwear.

colliers wood community centre, cafe

To the left is a small cafe. It does not display a menu because it is only in use when particular activities are going on. It is mainly an area to have tea, coffee, and a biscuit, while on break. There is a kitchen though, so I assume if you want something more substantial, you just ask what is available.

colliers wood community centre, cafe, collywood festival, photo entries
12-17 Entries

Everyone's entries were stuck on the wall for visitors to view, and each had a little blurb about why it was the contestant's favourite. Amongst my favourite entries were a LEGO policeman, a black and white close up of someone's son, and a egg inside a balloon whisk that had a grumpy face on it. This one was titled 'Bad Monday', and although I liked it, couldn't quite see how it fit in with the theme. Does this person like rotten eggs?

colliers wood community centre, collywood festival

The winners were not going to be announce until three o'clock, so I spent my time until then, admiring the stalls. I was impressed by a series of sculptures and paintings that I found a reminiscent fusion of an ancient Greek and Raphaelite style. I also find it kind of cute that they used a child's Etch-A-Sketch to write 'Please let us know if you wish to buy anything.'

silver by gilda
Silver by Gilda

The next table along featured Silver by Gilda, who creates 'handmade silver jewellery for that special keepsake. She also specialises in hand and footprints. If you are interested in any of her work, you can contact her by emailing

colliers wood community centre, collywood festival, camps international
Camps International

Camps International is a charity that offers amazing camping experiences abroad through volunteering. These are available for all ages, starting from 7-18 on a school expedition, 18-25 for a gap year, and 26 plus. Places you can visit include Kenya, Tanzania, Cambodeia, Borneo, Ecuador, and Peru. The organisation were at Colliers Wood Community Centre doing a fundraiser and raising awareness by selling handmade pillows.

Ben Nicolas is a ceramic sculptor who crafts beautiful pieces that are inspired by organic forms and natural elements. His bowls look like sea shells, and shine like the ocean. His work can also be seen at the Morley Gallery until the 2nd May as part of the Made Sculpture exhibition.

colliers wood community centre, collywood festival, photo competition
1st Prize winner of the 4-11s category.

Halfway round, it was time for the winners to be announced. There was a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for each category. I can't remember all the details, but some of the photographs included fireworks, a sepia picture of street lights, the 'Bad Monday' egg, and several landscapes. Those who were there went to collect their prize, and then we all resumed browsing.

colliers wood community centre, collywood festival, watercolour, rabbits

The next artist was my favourite of all, but unfortunately I did not catch her name. She painted the most beautiful watercolour painting, mostly of British wildlife, but I do remember seeing a hippo as well. My eyes were first drawn to a framed painting of a rabbit, I then started leafing through her other paintings, and found foxes, squirrels, badges, and more rabbits. They were painted in such a way that the colours of the landscape become one with the animal, much in the same way they are camouflaged in their real life environments. I couldn't resist buying all the rabbit pictures as a 'just because' present for my mum. When I presented everything I wanted to the artist, she was astounded at how many I wanted. She was so grateful that she gave me a free greetings card.

colliers wood community centre, collywood festival, julie sullock
Julie Sullock

Other artworks included print illustrations of cyclops aliens, and abstract paintings by Julie Sullock, whose is inspired by the landscape of Wales, Dorset, Southern France, and the London skyline. She is a member of Southbank Printmakers, a co-operative that owns a gallery in Gabriel's Wharf, close to the river Thames.

If you are an artist looking for a studio, then Turf Projects is a new nomadic art collective that curate free high quality exhibitions, and they soon hope to secure a space in central Croydon.

colliers wood community centre, collywood festival, colorida

On the other hand, if you are not very good at art, but would like to learn, Colorida runs workshops and tuition classes. The artist, Nisa, also makes jewellery from materials such as glass and copper. You can contact her by emailing

There are still a number of other Collywood Festival events taking place, such as a short story competition, pizza making, and concerts. If you would like to get involved with activities at the community centre, then you can find out more by emailing
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Why? Get involved in the community
When: 9am to 10pm
Phone: 020 8543 6470
Where: Colliers Wood
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