A programme of art, culture and new infrastructure to reimagine the future of the UK’s biggest council housing estate


London Borough of Barking & Dagenham

Woodward Arts and Culture Centre

Woodward Road

September 2023

Barking and Dagenham Council has been awarded a capital grant from Arts Council England to redevelop the old library on Woodward Road, Becontree Estate into a new community arts and culture centre. It will build on the legacy of the Arts and Culture Hub at Valence Library, which was a base for Becontree Forever and Becontree Broadcasting Station through the centenary.

Woodward Library – the first library built on the estate – will become a base for the future programme. The library will be a central arts and digital hub currently lacking on the Becontree Estate or in the wider Dagenham area.

The library will be redeveloped to have a fully accessible ground floor space that is welcoming to all in the local community and beyond. A building next to the library will be built to provide affordable work and studio spaces to creative practitioners in exchange for leading community-based activities for estate and borough residents, both on site and directly in the community.

The centre will be part of the borough’s Safe Spaces initiative, allowing young residents free and unquestioned access at designated after-school hours throughout the year.

Other planned uses for the arts centre will include:

  • A permanent base for Becontree Broadcasting Station.

  • A creative digital hub space providing much needed digital access and skills training for artists, cultural practitioners and residents.

  • Rehearsal, exhibition and performance space for community groups and socially engaged practitioners and artists to develop new work that emerges directly from the experiences of residents of the area, both past and present.

  • Public realm seating and a sustainable community garden.

  • A community kitchen to be used by core cultural partners and artists.

  • Workshop spaces for community-based programming that are bookable by individual residents and local cultural organisations.

Get Involved!

We're inviting local residents to join us on a series of Field Trips to amazing creative community spaces across the borough and London. These spaces will inspire us to build a vision for the new Woodward Arts & Culture Centre.

Our second field trip will be to the incredible Hackney School of Food in Clapton on Wednesday 8th March, 1-3.30pm. The Hackney School of Food is a vibrant cookery school for people of all ages established by LEAP Federation of Schools in partnership with the charity Chefs in Schools.

To find out more, click here.

Woodward Road

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This project has been funded by Arts Council England's National Lottery Projects Grant.