Danny Boyle spearheads crowdfunding campaign to build community hub near Olympic site

Acclaimed filmmaker Danny Boyle is heading a crowdfunding campaign to turn old psychiatric hospital into a groundbreaking community hub.


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Boyle is working with the East London Community Land Trust to redevelop St Clement’s Hospital in Mile End into a sprawling campus of cafes, art spaces and homes, owned and run by the local community.

The campaign is using Spacehive – the crowdfunding website for civic projects, to raise £3,000 to build a new café – the first phase in a grand plan for the hospital’s transformation.

Exciting rewards are up for grabs for people who back the Spacehive project. A pledge of £20 gets you a ticket to Boyle’s Shuffle film festival, which starts in the hospital grounds on 8th August. A £100 pledge allows you to meet Boyle for an exclusive Q&A session about his string of Oscar-wining film hits.

And for a pledge of £50, donors can experience a Secret History tour of the wonky hospital – a location steeped in history and oozing with Dickensian charm.

Those wishing to claim the rewards can make a pledge by visiting: www.spacehive.com/stclementssocialclubcafe


St Clement’s Hospital, a former Victorian workhouse, was also a psychiatric hospital that closed in 2005. The grand building lay vacant until over 1,000 local residents lobbied for the location to become Britain’s first ever Urban Community Land trust.

A Community Land Trust is land owned by a community foundation forever. Community land trusts are entrusted with developing affordable housing and civic assets on the land.

The Victorian era building houses a former theatre that was used as a social club by the hospital for sports, dances and a resident’s café.

Having grown up in a tower block that overlooked St Clement’s Hospital and living down the road from the building now, Danny Boyle had been aware of the building’s potential for a long time.

While on a tour of the derelict building with the East London Community Land Trust, Boyle came across a remarkable note left by the former hospital nurses outside the theatre.

The simple note with the word ‘hope’ on it was inspiration behind his idea to turn the space into a location for a film festival.

After generous donations from Boyle to transform the theatre into a functional cinema, the East London Community Land Trust will be hosting the Shuffle film festival.

The festival will run for 11 nights from the 19th July with an outdoor screen, community classes and discussions with directors.

The aim is for the café – which is the focus of Boyle’s crowdfunding campaign – to be up and running by the launch of the festival and will act as a hub for people to gather and talk about art, film and community issues.

Danny Boyle said:

“Shuffle is an unusual festival, held in an extraordinary place – a Victorian psychiatric hospital. Shuffle is bringing together the people of Mile End via film, the arts and the exploration of attitudes to mental illness and will help to create a permanent home for the array of wonderful projects started this summer.

“The Cafe, the gardens, the cinema, the theatre, and lecture space that we are building for Shuffle all enrich Mile End. St Clements and Shuffle are very inspiring to both me and a lot of people in Mile End who have made a beautiful thing come alive in an old abandoned hospital. I am looking forward to seeing everyone there for a fortnight of films, food and music in these long hot summer nights.”

Kate MacTiernan, head of the East London Community Land Trust said:

“The café is a cool way of keeping the spirit of the festival alive after it ends. It’ll provide jobs for locals and give the community a place to go. It is a perfect example of people working together to crowdfund, build and run a sustainable café.”

Chris Gourlay, founder of Spacehive said:

“The project is a fantastic way of engaging local residents after the festival and we’re excited to be a part of it. Crowdfunding fosters local pride because the community has a hand in bringing projects to life. The café will be a daily reminder of Mile End coming together to save a fantastic building.’

Please include this link where supporters can donate to the cause: https://www.spacehive.com/stclementssocialclubcafe

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