Through National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Catalyst in Communities have joined forces, together with Stretch Charity and Caritas Anchor House to create a local history digital archival project called 'Dancing 'Round Canning Town'.


The project began in 2017 and is based around collecting oral histories and stories from local people about the old Anchor House dancehall from 1960s-80s, which was popular with locals and visitors when Anchor House served as a seaman's mission. 


The ballroom was a hive of activity, frequented by local residents and seafarers from around the globe who were staying at Anchor House. New and lasting friendships were formed and the seafarers on leave let their hair down and danced the night away with local residents. 

The stories that were collected and transformed into short films for the project by the Stretch Team are to become part of the local area's permanent archive. The films will be screened and exhibited at different venues across Canning Town and also published online.


Residents participated in a series of skills building workshops and research trips facilitated by Catalyst In Communities and Stretch at Caritas Anchor House including:

  • Communication and Teamwork Skills

  • Community Engagement and Outreach Skills

  • Storytelling

  • Planning and Research

  • Interview Techniques

  • Filming Techniques

  • Video, Sound and Image editing

  • Blogging

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