Created by Rachel Godin (MA International Politics and Human Rights, 2018) and her business partner Elise Harrison, social enterprise HAUS OF is a safe space for vulnerable adults, providing them with an opportunity to connect with art therapies whilst ‘encouraging political activism and promoting diversity’. Read more about the HAUS that Rachel and Elise built…
Can you tell me about your time at City?
I studied an MA in International Politics and Human Rights which I thoroughly enjoyed. Especially learning about grassroots democratic movements and exploring political ideologies such as cosmopolitanism, universalism and community-making.
What happened after you graduated?
I took a job at British Standards Institution working as a Programme Manager, all the while wishing that I could somehow merge my political activism passions with my creativity so that I could live a more balanced life that was in tune with my ethics.
How did HAUS OF come about?
I met Elise Harrison, my partner and co-founder in the summer after graduation. We were both struggling to find the meaning of valuable work within capitalism and feeling like we had much more to offer than what was being given to us in traditional employment roles. Nothing felt radical enough. We encouraged each other to get out of capitalistic jobs and focus our sights on making a real difference, remaining activists and helping vulnerable groups access healing.
We decided to start HAUS OF, a social enterprise that provides pottery and furniture classes to disadvantaged or vulnerable adults. HAUS OF will not only provide wellness through art, but will provide a safe space in which people can explore creative, alternative avenues of living by encouraging political activism and promoting diversity.
HAUS OF began as a conversation about our upset over the busyness of city life and a real interest in building a fun-filled creative arts community that could be accessible to everyone. We noticed that we and many of our friends were unhappy with the hum-drum monotony of daily life too. We noticed that there were many vulnerable groups in London that were not properly connected to arts therapies that would deeply benefit them. These vulnerable groups include people struggling with homelessness, mental illness, loneliness, LGBTQA+ and women. We’re partnering with local charities who help us front the cost of our workshops too. Working with vulnerable groups is at the heart of our business concept.
HAUS OF is built on the solid belief that everyone should be able to access hands on creative time so that they can be as happy as possible. Starting HAUS OF seemed like the most obvious solution.
London is a hot spot for partying and alcohol, but when it comes to improving mental health and sticking to a healthy lifestyle, finding ways to socialise that don’t involve lots of money or alcohol were hard to come by. So HAUS OF is a place that focuses on building community and fun-filled experiences apart from the hustle and bustle of chaotic city life.
What has been the most rewarding experience?
In May 2019 HAUS OF won the creative category of the Big Idea Competition hosted by the Accelerator of London Metropolitan University. We have garnered support and have plenty of people cheering us on. That feels amazing.
View the project pitch that won us our award.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is a lack of funding to carry our project through to realization. We have the support of many loving people, but little access to funding.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Believe in your idea and others will too. If you’ve found a solution to a problem your idea is valid.
Interested in supporting HAUS OF?
Funding is dwindling from the government to local charities who help the vulnerable groups that HAUS OF seeks to support. We’re taking it into our own hands to give back to the community. Mental health and homelessness are now considered a crisis and populations needing assistance are forecast to grow. NHS resources aren’t sufficient enough. It’s time we do something to lift the strain.
We are attempting to raise £16,000 so that we can move into a physical studio that we have put a down payment on. In this case, we’ll have to think about ways to continue HAUS OF, whether this is to continue with fundraising into summer 2019 or thinking up something even more adventurous.
Help us get the word out and make some noise about this campaign!
Please share our project with people you know on Instagram (tag us @hau_of__), Twitter and Facebook!
Alternatively, you can support us by donating to our concept.
If you can support us, that would be awesome! Your donation is going to a great place. We can assure that people who really need our services are getting them and that the products we’re making are unique and sustainable. If you message our Instagram, we’d love to do a shoutout to thank you for your donation!