It is with great sadness that Peter Bedford Housing Association (PBHA) has taken the difficult decision to close its social enterprise, Outpost Shop and Gallery on Holloway Road. After 20 successful years of trading in Islington, the housing association is focusing its work, resources and team on the emerging needs of socially excluded adults resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic.

We are immensely proud that Outpost has successfully achieved its purpose and aims  providing inspiring learning opportunities and support for over 500 socially excluded adults, curating over 30 exhibitions and welcoming over 20,000 visitors in the last 5 years alone to the social enterprise. Outpost has been an inclusive social space in the community for people to build on strengths, gain skills and confidence, share creative expression, and improve their wellbeing. Our shop and gallery has provided retail and customer service training as work experience. Alongside this, Outpost has been a platform to showcase diverse talents of artists and makers in our Creative Programmes at Outpost and PBHA’s Workshop.

PBHA Retail and Creative Industries Manager, Lorna Coxall, said: “On behalf of the Outpost team I would like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to the life, soul and success of the social enterprise over the years. It has been a collective effort thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of all our learners, volunteers, staff, supporters and loyal customers. We are proud to have been part of our learners’ progression and to have connected with the wider local community. We hope you have found inspiration at Outpost as much as we have, and will continue to get involved with Peter Bedford”.

PBHA CEO Clare Norton said: “Having made a considerable investment in this part of Holloway and contributed to the vibrant local community, the retail outlook for Outpost has sadly become extremely difficult in recent times. This has undoubtedly been worsened by the impact of Covid-19 and as a result, Outpost has been struggling to remain sustainable. We have explored a number of options to secure funding for the enterprise, but it has become clear that none were a suitable match.  We feel now is the right time to change Peter Bedford’s focus to helping the people we house and support to build the relevant key skills they will need to become independent in the future. Developing our digital training offer and manual trade skills will be the direction we will focus on. It has been a privilege to work alongside the talented team of staff, volunteers and makers at Outpost who have made such a successful social enterprise.”

PBHA invites Outpost’s loyal customers, supporters, volunteers, artists, makers, retail trainees and staff, past and present, to an online celebration on 11th August 2020.

PBHA will continue to provide training and support to help people to get into work across Islington and Hackney continuing Outpost’s legacy of offering retail and customer service opportunities and creative skills training.