Fuel the Dream of Play + Arts space in Lewisham

Project Philo profile

Project by Project Philo

Total raised £2,086

raised so far



We’re raising enough to fuel the dream of opening a safe, accessible space for local families in south east London to create and play.

We're still collecting donations

On the 25th May 2024 we'd raised £2,086 with 40 supporters in 55 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

"Our story is what we have to offer the world" - Erwin Raphael McManus

What is Philo?

Our mission is to establish a family play and arts space that fosters intergenerational connections, engages in and produces the arts, and champions social justice.

Philo is a play and arts space for families with 0-11s that is free to attend in the borough of Lewisham. We launched in 2022 as a pop-up play space & supper club and ran 8 months of weekly sessions which we've reflected on in our impact report.

Almost two years later, Philo has evolved into a space that is offering new ways to explore play and creativity, practice community care and reimagine how collective healing is achieved through this. Keep reading to find out how you can you can support this project.



“Play is not a luxury, play is a necessity” - Kay Jamison

Accessible spaces for children to play are in dire need. Play has become a luxury with the majority of play sessions costing in excess of £8 per child. With rising inequalities, against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, safe good-quality play spaces are becoming quickly inaccessible and scarce. There is a need for free curated play spaces within every area. Rampant individualism has created silos that keep us separated and break down the network of care in the communities we live in.

Parents are burdened and many children have been forced to stay indoors where screens have taken over and working people are (for very good reason) pre-occupied with academic learning for progress as opposed to open-ended play. As a society we are experiencing play deprivation. 

“There is, for many, a poverty of play” - D.W. Winicott

While there is wider social and cultural conversation around the need or desire for more play, we at Philo, believe in the power of play.

The Arts

We've seen huge gravitations to making art in the space. Our interest in how the arts plays its role in collective healing has every opportunity to be explored, especially in our new venue, the Grove Park Youth Club! It is an amazing venue with an amazing story of community strength. We are proud to be sharing this venue who are already having an impact in the area through their various offerings. There are multiple spaces we have access to from an art room to outdoor space and we're excited about plans to create workshops and sessions for creative and playful expression!


Communal intergenerational art making has the power of unleashing expression, unpacking oppression, processing emotions and creating new worlds and possibilities. At Philo we want to creatively unleash big ideas that can transform our community.

"The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers." - James Baldwin

If it isn't obvious by now, we’re huge advocates for play and our firsthand experience of the therapeutic and transformative power of play and the arts is what we have to share.

The benefits of play for a child's healthy development are well researched and all over the world, play is being talked about. Social, relational and behavioural development, problem solving skills and generating ideas comes through play. The arts are restorative practice that allows people to express themselves but where is the space to explore this in community without cost? 


Fuel the dream

We're one step closer to our dream of opening a space that is created for us, by us. At this stage, we need to raise £17,230 to open this space and keep it free to access for the year

£17,230 will cover the costs of:

• weekly rent for a year to run the full day sessions (within walking distance of local schools)

• access to storage for the year

• weekly light lunch for the next year + tea, coffee & healthy snacks

• curating a culturally diverse library for growing ages with Book Love

• a play facilitator

• indoor and outdoor play resources for 0-11s, sensory activities and critical thinking games

• building our art resources

• relevant training for all volunteers

• strategic time to formalise our structure and to apply for future funding 

Imagine a free to attend, family play and arts space, in our very own South east London. Donate today and be a part of something transformative!

Thank you!

IG - @playatphilo


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This project offered rewards

£35 or more

£35 Reward

A Philo seed bomb growing kit

£50 or more

£50 Reward

A Philo T-shirt

£250 or more

£250 Reward

Bespoke Philo artwork

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