Camden charities chosen to run new Health amd Wellbeing Centre

The Francis Crick Institute



12 May 2016

For immediate release



London’s Francis Crick Institute to set new template for community engagement


In a unique model for community engagement by a research institute, the Francis Crick Institute has appointed a group of Camden charities to run a health and wellbeing centre for local people within its new building in King’s Cross, it was announced today (Thursday 12 May).

 The Francis Crick Institute, which will be the largest biomedical research centre under a single roof in Europe when it opens later in the year, will contain a dedicated Living Centre within its iconic new building.

 The St Pancras and Somers Town ward, where the Crick is located, is among the most deprived 25% of neighbourhoods in London. The development will be the first new community space to be built in Somers Town for more than 15 years. 

 A group of Camden charities, Living Centre Partners, has been chosen to run the Crick’s Living Centre, which will open in January 2017.

 The 450sqm purpose-built community space on Ossulston Street will help improve the health and wellbeing of people living locally. A range of services will be developed with residents to complement successful services already on offer in the area. 

Hannah Camm, the Crick’s Community Engagement Manager, said: “We’re delighted Living Centre Partners has won the contract. The St Pancras and Somers Town ward is among the most deprived 25% of neighbourhoods in London and there is a shocking inequality in life expectancy compared to other parts of the city. The Living Centre is intended to help address this and it’s essential it serves the needs of the people who live here. We’re determined it will have a positive impact.”

Living Centre Partners is led by Somers Town Community Association. Citizens Advice Camden, Voluntary Action Camden, Age UK Camden, Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre, Healthwatch Camden, Origin Housing Association and Training Link are also part of the consortium.

 “This is a truly exciting time,” said Sarah Elie, Executive Director of Somers Town Community Association. “The partners and I are honored to have been chosen and we are excited to get started on delivering what will be an amazing new facility in Somers Town, working with and for the community.”

Dr David Roblin, Chief Operating Officer at the Francis Crick Institute, said: “The Crick’s mission is to discover the biology underpinning human health and disease, and in doing so help to tackle some of the biggest health challenges facing humanity, from heart disease to cancer. Through the Living Centre, we will also help improve the health of the local community. This is a new template for how institutes like ours can support their immediate neighbours, and we very much look forward to working with the Living Centre Partners on such an exciting project.”

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For further information contact


Elaine Snell

Interim Media Relations Manager

The Francis Crick Institute

07973 953794


Notes to editors:

The Francis Crick Institute is a new and distinctive biomedical research institute. Its purpose-built laboratory in the King’s Cross area of London will open in 2016. The institute’s work – which is already underway at the Crick’s Clare Hall, Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Mill Hill laboratories – aims to understand the fundamental biology underpinning human health and disease.


The Crick’s research will help find new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat a range of illnesses − such as cancer, heart disease and stroke, infections and neurodegenerative diseases − and keep the UK at the forefront of medical innovation. The Francis Crick Institute is a unique partnership between the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King’s College London.


The Living Centre is a purpose-built, 450sqm, two-storey space for the local community, aiming to help improve health and wellbeing in the St Pancras and Somers Town ward.

The Living Centre Partners’ offering for the Living Centre will create a strong, unique identity for the Living Centre and shows a clear understanding of the needs of the local community. The offer has three key elements:

1)    A new referral and signposting advice service, so people can find the information and services they really need. This might be a formal service directly concerned with health (e.g. smoking cessation); it might be a service at a local community centre (e.g. an exercise class); or it might be a service concerned with wider aspects of wellbeing (e.g. getting back into employment or debt advice). Through this new service, they will create a unique and valuable hub that complements existing services and avoids duplication with other organisations in the ward.


2)    Using the Living Centre to unite and expand an existing network of high-quality services, which are already having a measurable, positive impact on the lives of local people. These services will include:


  • social prescribing;

  • an ‘ageing better in Camden’ programme;

  • sports volunteering;

  • a home care programme, which recruits and trains local people to provide specialist care in the homes of vulnerable adults in the area;

  • training and employability support;

  • citizens’ advice targeting issues around health, debt, welfare and benefits, housing and employment.


3)    Drawing on the extensive experience and wealth of skills within the consortium to develop new and innovative joint services and initiatives, all driven by the needs of people living locally.


The Living Centre is a unique and exciting opportunity to help reduce inequalities in the local area, to make the most of local skills, resources and knowledge, and to work with the Crick and its partners to benefit the community. Living Centre Partners will spend the next few months working with the Crick and the local community to set up the Living Centre. It will open to the public in January 2017.

The Crick will provide some financial support but the Living Centre will be run independently by Living Centre Partners.


The London Borough of Camden has supported the Crick in the development of the Living Centre, with Camden Council Officers and St Pancras and Somers Town ward Councillors involved in the research and development of the centre.