Community News

Connecting communities – a view from The Peel

By Olu Alake, Chief Executive Officer at The Peel

Olu Alake and the winners of the Clerkenwell Photography competition
Olu Alake and the winners of the Clerkenwell Photography competition

It is an absolute pleasure to be taking on the role of chief executive at The Peel Institute. I have joined the organisation at a very interesting time when we are coming out of lockdown, and it’s been interesting helping to get everything up and running again while getting my head around the myriad programme, governance and strategic matters that The Peel is involved in.

More than anything, I have been impressed with the depth of commitment that the staff and volunteers at The Peel have for the community, which manifests itself in the wonderful activities they organise. It is quite humbling to realise that I’m at the helm of an organisation that has been serving the needs of the community in Clerkenwell for over 100 years – indeed, in two years time, The Peel will be 125 years old. I feel a real sense of responsibility to ensure that the organisation grows and thrives for the next 125 years.

The immediate priorities for me are to ensure that we place The Peel at the service of the community, so we can address the needs that are emerging, especially given the toll that recent lockdowns have had on people young and old. I really want The Peel to be a smile on the face of the Clerkenwell community – not just a physical space that they can come to, but a dynamic organisation that comes to them in an accessible way. I also intend to really live the mission of The Peel to ‘connect communities’, which won’t just include local residents and community groups, but also to connect people to the business community in mutually beneficial ways.

We will also be placing The Peel even more firmly at the heart of the community by getting involved in various engagement forums and using our insight and reach to Clerkenwell to inform, challenge and shape policies at local and regional government levels. I believe that my previous roles have really prepared me for this role – from using the power of sport and physical activity to promote mental and emotional wellbeing, to providing developmental activities for children and young people, to enabling older people to have rich, fulfilled lives and to enabling all ethnically diverse communities to more meaningfully connect through arts and cultural activities.

There are so many ways that The Peel can make itself a stronger beat at the heart of this community. Most importantly, I intend to have a lot of fun. So, if you are in the area, please drop by to say hello, and if you have any great ideas about how you want to make Clerkenwell an even more wonderful place to live, work and play, please do drop me a line. I am really looking forward to working with you.

What’s happening at The Peel

A gong for Kimberley
We’re delighted that The Peel’s Kimberley Bottomley, our Older Persons Activity Coordinator, was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) award for dedicated service to the older people of Clerkenwell. In September we provided an afternoon of opera to the Over-55 Social Club members, as part of a dynamic programme of activities, classes, entertainment and lunches.

Snap happy
The Peel was proud to be a partner of the Clerkenwell Photography competition, led by Chris Walker. An array of emerging photographic talent was celebrated at an awards ceremony in the Soapbox Youth Centre, Old Street. Congratulations to all the winners, seen above, and thanks to Chris for organising it all. For the wonderful photographic works, and the winners, see

Stepping Up
A note to remind all that our Stepping Up Youth Club is open for 6 and 7 pupils (that is, 10–12 year olds) at any Islington school. Get in touch and book up on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3.30pm–6pm at The Peel’s Three Corners Centre. Our wide range of activities including arts and crafts (including T-shirt design), dance classes, coding, cooking and enterprise workshops and there’s also space to make friends, socialise and do homework.

Contact details for all these activities and more: Email [email protected]
Call 0207 837 6082

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