Star of Greenwich Winter Update

James Gadsby Peet
13 min readDec 20, 2023

Thanks again to all of our community for continuing to support the Star. We have had everyone from neighbours to community groups to local charities making use of the space and we’re so proud of what we’ve all achieved together.

As with most businesses, we’ve had a very difficult year. Whilst the community side of what we do is flourishing, the pub is still working to become a sustainable business that enables that work.

We’d love to know more about how people would like to use the space — what kind of events we can put on and how to spread the word.

We’ve had real success with one off events like Halloween, Plateful Cafe pop ups and the Greenwich Gin tasting, but these take a lot of time to organise so if you’ve got an idea and would like to get involved please do get in touch!

Thank you again for all your support so far (in particular Annie, Maria, Dave, Jay, Viki, Paul, Sandra & Elaine)

We can’t wait to see you over the festive period

Cheers!

James, Kirsty & Lisa

PS — we’d love to hear what you think about this update and the Star. Please drop us an email with your thoughts — starofgreenwich@gmail.com or say hello across our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook pages

Our community projects

Working with different community groups is a core part of what we’re about at the Star. Some examples from the last few months include:

AvoCuddle

AvoCuddle Playroom at The Star of Greenwich is a vibrant space for children’s learning and play, offering a safe and engaging environment. It hosts a variety of activities including music, dance, language, and craft classes, fostering a fun learning atmosphere.

The playroom also serves as a relaxed spot for parents and carers, with opportunities for socializing and events like face painting and party games. It’s a community hub for families to connect, celebrate, and enjoy a range of children-focused activities.

Keep an eye on their social media for upcoming events.

English for Action London

English for Action (EFA London), part of Citizens UK and active in the South London Listens campaign, is a key player in the Greenwich Be Well Hubs, partnering with Creating Ground. EFA London offers participatory and empowering English classes to local residents, emphasizing the importance of language in building resilient and supportive communities. The organization champions its students’ voices on relevant issues, particularly those affecting migrants, such as healthcare access and mental health.

Since 2008, EFA London has been a fixture in Greenwich, providing various classes including a main ESOL class, an online beginner class, an online conversation club, and now a conversation club at The Star of Greenwich.

We focus on reducing inequality and enhancing community cohesion and offer a welcoming space for diverse groups, including EFA London’s conversation club.

The club, meeting at The Star on Fridays, fosters discussions on daily life, cultural exchanges, and mental health, among other topics. Activities like chocolate tasting sessions and kite flying in Greenwich Park are part of the program, aimed at creating a supportive and engaging environment. Additionally, the club welcomes visitors from SLAM NHS Trust, discussing mental health services and community action.

Participants’ reflections reveal the club’s impact. They express appreciation for the supportive atmosphere, the chance to improve English skills, and the opportunity to discuss and learn about various aspects of life in London, underscoring the importance of such community initiatives in fostering wellbeing and integration.

‘It is important for the women to go out and meet people and avoid sitting alone and remember what hurts them, whether they are immigrants or citizens. We are at Star of Greenwich with Lucie learning new things and new cultures, enjoying our time, supporting each other, learning to work together, exchanging and developing ideas, and learning a lot of new vocabulary and language. And we are talking more confidently and with satisfaction, so we are keen to come every week.’

Fatima, EFA London member

Greener Greenwich network

The Greener Greenwich Community Network, comprising nearly 50 individuals and organizations, meets at The Star of Greenwich to work towards a greener borough. They campaign on environmental issues, run pilot projects, and organize workshops for community awareness. Involvement opportunities include joining meetings, contributing skills in writing or design, and providing meeting spaces.

For more information on their activities and how to participate, you can contact them at ggcommunitynetwork@gmail.com

Greenwich Skeptics

Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub (SitP) is a unique community initiative based in Greenwich, London. They hold monthly meetings at The Star of Greenwich, inviting guest speakers to explore various topics.

Aimed at promoting critical thinking and skepticism, these gatherings welcome anyone interested in engaging discussions. Their events, typically held on the second Wednesday of each month, are open to all and include talks on diverse subjects.

For more details on their upcoming events and activities, visit Skeptics in the Pub — https://sitp.online/sitp/greenwich/

South East London Community Energy

South East London Community Energy (SELCE) is a community benefit society focusing on sustainable energy solutions in South East London. Founded by volunteers concerned about the climate crisis, SELCE operates across Greenwich, Lewisham, Bromley, and Bexley, partnering with local organizations and councils.

They offer a variety of services, including energy advice for households and organizations, helping with energy bill struggles, and supporting the transition to sustainable energy practices.

SELCE has used The Star of Greenwich for important events like their AGM, aligning with the pub’s community-focused ethos. For more details on their initiatives and events, visit SELCE’s website — https://selce.org.uk/

EGRA

The East Greenwich Residents Association (EGRA) focuses on improving the social, economic, and environmental well-being of residents in East Greenwich, London. They engage in various local issues, and

The Star of Greenwich pub serves as a regular meeting venue for their discussions. EGRA’s meetings at the pub enable residents to gather and address local concerns, fostering community engagement and collaboration. For more information on EGRA and their activities, you can visit their website — https://www.egra.london/

Charity Book club

The Charity Book Club recently came to the Star to celebrate their Christmas event by discussing Twelve Nights by Urs Faes. Charity Book Club is a collection of people that work in the charity sector and discuss books with topics that impact the whole of society.

The Charity Book Club met at the Star to discuss a range of social justice issues

SPACE Community theatre

The Space, a vibrant theatre in London, offers participatory theatre workshops through its program SpaceWorks. These workshops, led by industry professionals, provide creative opportunities in a welcoming and supportive environment, emphasizing ensemble and friendship. The Space also organizes various theatre productions, offering participants the chance to develop performance skills and engage in productions in front of an audience.

The Space has utilized the community room at The Star of Greenwich for rehearsing some of their community theatre productions, fostering artistic collaboration in a community setting. For more details about their participatory workshops and productions, visit The Space — https://space.org.uk/

“Your pub is so lovely and everyone enjoyed their time and rehearsal went really well!! We’d love to come back.”

Life drawing

The Star of Greenwich has become a new venue for a local life drawing group, originally formed as an Adult Education Class at Greenwich Community College. Led by practicing artists Mick Armson and Ashley Greaves, the group emphasizes a blend of learning and social interaction.

The group, non-profit and dedicated to supporting models and members, aims to foster community connections and expand in the East Greenwich area.

For more about their work and interests, you can visit their Instagram pages: @mickarmson and @ashley_greaves

Mindful art

The Mindful Art Club, hosted at The Star of Greenwich, offers monthly gatherings for creative wellbeing and a sense of calm. Led by Clare, a writer and creative facilitator, these sessions focus on mindfulness through art, encouraging participants to express their creativity in a relaxed environment.

Projects vary each month, ranging from zine-making to watercolor painting, with all materials provided. The club fosters a friendly community of like-minded individuals and offers special discounts on retreats and events. It’s open to everyone seeking a creative outlet and connection. For more details, visit Mindful Art Club.

Merchants House AGM

Merchants House is a local community that includes a range of different flats close to the river in East Greenwich. The development is an easy walk from Maze Hill railway station, and looks across the water to Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs.

Each year the group of residents that directs the care of the building meets with its members — to discuss successes and priorities for the coming year.

Plateful Cafe

Plateful Cafe, known for its refugee-led culinary delights, has collaborated with us for various pop-up meals. This initiative, based in Parkside Community Centre, offers a platform for refugee chefs to showcase their skills and share authentic recipes from diverse cultures. The cafe supports refugees by providing job opportunities and hosting community events. For more information and to explore their menu, visit Plateful Cafe — https://platefulcafe.co.uk/

Rugby World Cup

The highlight of the rugby calendar came to the Star with a range of different events which brought in lots of different people to enjoy the matches.

Folk music

We now have two folk groups taking place at the Star — the Blackheath Folk Society and a new world folk band led by the amazing Alice.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CzRw2RfIAgc/

Beajoulais nouveau

We recently celebrated the Beaujolais Nouveau tradition, showcasing a selection of wines from this year’s harvest. This celebration is a nod to a tradition dating back to the 1800s, where Beaujolais growers toasted the end of the season with their young wine. The event was enhanced by performances from the talented Star of Greenwich Folk band, adding a musical charm to the evening of food and wine appreciation.

Halloween

Across the Halloween weekend we ran a free kid’s party and hosted one of our biggest evenings of the year. With a full Star Wars cast and Lisa’s birthday party there were plenty of tricks and plenty of treats!

Greenwich Gin Tasting

We recently hosted a memorable gin tasting event featuring Greenwich Gin, a brand inspired by the spirit of exploration and global flavours. The event included not only a tasting of their unique gin varieties but also an engaging quiz.

Greenwich Gin is known for its blend of British marine botanicals and international ingredients, reflecting the legacy of Greenwich Meridian. Their commitment to sustainability is evident in their practices, such as using eco-friendly packaging and supporting marine conservation efforts.

For more details about their philosophy and products, visit Greenwich Gin — https://greenwichgin.uk/

You can also get an exclusive Greenwich Gin & Tonic at the Star whenever we’re open…

(Huge thanks to Elaine for organising this whole event!)

William Joseph

William Joseph, a design agency focused on creating accessible products and services, has been utilising The Star of Greenwich for team meetings and client workshops.

This London-based agency, known for its work with various notable charities, universities and public health organisations, values spaces that foster creativity and collaboration.

The Star of Greenwich provides an ideal setting for their gatherings, aligning with the agency’s ethos of equitable and innovative design. More about their work and impact can be found on William Joseph’s website — https://www.williamjoseph.co.uk/

Greenwich triathlon

The Greenwich Triathlon club used the community room to celebrate the amazing achievement’s of their athletes across the year.

Christmas parties galore

We’ve had a fabulous time celebrating Christmas with Greenwich Training, SELCE, Greenwich Ambulance Service, Greenwich Skeptics to name a few!

Free kid’s christmas party

We also hosted a free Christmas party for all our local kids — with arts & crafts, presents, treats and face painting.

City Stack

The Star of Greenwich has been a part of CityStack, a unique initiative supporting London’s independent pubs. CityStack offers a special beer mat that enables pub-goers to save on food and drinks, encouraging the exploration and support of a curated collection of independent pubs. For more details, visit CityStack — https://www.citystack.co/

Star of Greenwich community print

Local illustrator Martyna Makes has kindly donated her time to create a poster which pulls together all of the elements of the Star into a wonderful design. You can purchase your copy here — https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/1579833522/the-star-of-greenwich-poster

And see more of Martyna’s work here — https://www.instagram.com/martynamakes/

What people are saying about us

The BBC came down to London to see what all the fuss is about with our community owned pub: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-london-67722794

We were even featured on the BBC London evening news!
https://ww3.rics.org/uk/en/modus/built-environment/homes-and-communities/third-places.html
https://www.wearetelescope.org/blog/expert-by-experience-launching-a-community-owned-hub-in-greenwich

Drinks & Finances

The summer was a particularly quiet time for the pub. With many neighbours on holiday and without a significant outside space we struggled to get people through the door. We’re hoping to make up the numbers over the festive period.

From the new year, we have a significant increase in our rent — so will need to be consistently hitting a higher sales target than we’ve achieved previously.

We’re working with various people to help achieve this but if you or anyone you know would like to partner with us or help out in any way, then please do get in touch!

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James Gadsby Peet

Director of Digital at William Joseph — a digital agency and BCorp. I’m always up for chatting about fun things and animated cat gifs www.williamjoseph.co.uk