01/12/2021 Somers Town Museum brings history back to life for the local community

Diana Foster, director of the Somers Town History Club, founded ‘A space for us’, a living memory project – not only to celebrate the local heritage and history, but also to benefit the local community as a social enterprise through education and arts. Diana wanted to create a space for people to come together and share narratives of life, place and the past. Through workshops, campaigns, walks and talks, members could come together to discuss art, historic publications and photographs – but most importantly, they could share stories.

The club has been very successful and has been helping its attendees for years. These attendees tend to be older people, typically those suffering with loneliness or dementia. For many people in these situations, a warm welcome and kind encouragement is the best remedy. ‘A space between us’ allows people to explore what is important to them and gives them the opportunity to share this with others – something at the core of social prescribing.

Diana’s vision was to offer people opportunities and not just activities, to help people feel a sense of purpose and to build a network – whilst also allowing them to participate in something they feel passionately about. The outcome was the inception of a club built entirely out of the skill, dedication and knowledge of its participants.

George joined ‘A space for us’ shortly after suffering a personal loss, and the history club helped him to deal with his grief through sharing his memories and knowledge of Somers Town with others. His experience and enthusiasm have since attracted others to the club, while also provoking interest and spreading awareness amidst the younger generations. George took part in many of the clubs public engagement events, including through media and film – you can watch one of his short videos below.

Heather Allen, a social prescribing link worker, explains why people are referred to this initiative:

“People share stories with me of their lives and they just want to be heard – some want to volunteer and make a difference, some would like the opportunity to be more creative, improve their physical fitness, connect with nature, preserve their community or reignite the lost artiste inside themselves.

The History Club is an amazing place to explore this, bringing people together across generations sharing their stories”.

Somers Town Museum is an excellent example of social prescribing through heritage and history – allowing people to connect with each other and with the places that matter to them.


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