Bell House, Dulwich wins Historic Houses Award for Innovation in Education

Bell House is a charity based in Dulwich that supports the community with educational lifelong learning skills and various other cultural services outside of what the mainstream curriculum offers.  Rosanna Head

The team reached out to us to share the good news that they had won an award from Historic Houses – ‘the Frances Garnham Award* 2019, for innovative approaches to learning, outreach, and community work.  An award that over 1,500 historic houses entered nationwide.  We reached out to the team to find out a bit more about the organisation and what the award means to them.

Caroline with touch typing kids Bell House
Caroline from Bell House with the children from the Touch Typing course

What is Bell House?

Bell House is an educational charity based in a beautiful Georgian house in Dulwich, that offers support outside the mainstream school curriculum, lifelong learning, short courses, exhibitions, talks and musical events.  The house is also a centre for educational needs such as dyslexia support.  They champion wider learning courses for all age groups and there are free events and bursary places available on all courses.

What do they offer?

They run a range of talks, courses, workshops and events, delivering wider learning opportunities to the local community.  As well as this ever-evolving programme of events, they run weekly quilting, gardening and adult literacy sessions. The House is a centre for educational needs such as dyslexia support and they also offer info and support networks to those who are caring for the elderly.

What does the award mean to Bell House?

Director of Historic Houses, Ben Cowell, said, “it’s wonderful to see such an energetic and dynamic approach underway at Bell House. This beautiful place is a beacon for its local area showing how historic houses continue to serve vital purposes.”

Louise Wood, receiving the prize on behalf of Bell House charity pointed out, “Bell House is a place of calm and inspiration where people can learn new things, from bee-keeping to learning to read.  A huge thank you to all the volunteers who have put time into Bell House and made it a welcoming community.”

The judges were hugely impressed by the reach and creativity of Bell House’s offer to its local community, including the increasing work in dyslexia, adult literacy, cookery, garden volunteering and film-making.

What’s next for Bell House?

As a relatively new charity, Bell House particularly welcomes the Frances Garnham Award*.  The certificate was presented at the award ceremony by Ana and Alex, Frances Garnham’s children, and celebrates Frances’ passion, encouraging heritage sites to embrace a wide range of audiences, which is consistent with the Bell House mission – “for wider learning”.

Erenie Mullens-Burgess added:  “In terms of our plans for 2020, I would say we are focusing on developing a number of initiatives alongside our normal programme of educational events and dyslexia support. We are teaming up with English for Action to start English for Speakers of Other Languages, and Bell Health, our women’s health programme will start in earnest, with an event on periods in February.”

For more information about Bell House visit the website

Instagram – bellhousedulwich

Twitter – @BellHouseNews

*The France Garnham Award commemorates the achievements of Frances Garnham, who worked as Director of Policy and Campaigns at Historic Houses until 2015. Frances was passionate about encouraging heritage sites to embrace the opportunities of engaging with a wide range of audiences, and this Award in her name seeks to shine a light on innovative examples of learning and outreach.

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