We are building on our successful creative community engagement through the new Tommy Flowers Foundation, set up with support from Power To Change, working across both northeast England that recognised Tommy's achievements through an honorary doctorate from Newcastle University and in east London where he grew up. Tommy's work is testament to how personal drive and innovation can change the world, a great example to those from similar working class backgrounds as him.
Founder Garry Hunter studied marine engineering at South Shields Technical College and then worked in photography for 25 years before transferring his skills to foster collaborative creative learning for the £2m Creative People and Places initiative 'Cultural Spring' working in South Shields and Sunderland 2013-16.
In 2017 he was invited by Big Local to start a creative community Outreach programme on a long empty high street on the Aberfeldy estate in Poplar, east London. He decided to set up a community pub to be named after post office engineer Tommy Flowers, who was born just along the road and went on to design and build the world's first semi-programmable computer Colossus for Bletchley Park in 1943. With further support from The Plunkett Foundation, this quickly became much more than a pub, offering opportunities to local people and youth groups to create stop-motion films with one of Tim Burton's team or to learn how to animate plants using Arduino with engineers from the FabLab at Roskilde University, Denmark, where Garry is a visiting artist.
The Tommy Flowers Community Pub was cited as 'a new model of creative community engagement' at the launch of Better Business at The House of Lords in 2019 and was a core focus of The Centre For London think tank's report on the future of the high street post-lockdown, that fed into Mayoral policy in 2021. With social distancing measures still in place, an opportunity arose to refurbish the next-door unit at 48 Aberfeldy Street, a former post office, growing that success into establishing a new educational 'making space.'
THE TOMMY FLOWERS FOUNDATION
MAKING SPACE ABERFELDY, 48 Aberfeldy Street, London, E14 0NU, United Kingdom
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