Sutton Life Centre
|Sutton Life Centre|
Interior of the Sutton Life Centre
|Location||Sutton, Greater London|
|Address||24 Alcorn Close, Sutton, SM3 9PX|
|Opened||27 October 2010|
|Client||London Borough of Sutton|
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||Curl la Tourelle Architects|
The Sutton Life Centre is a community centre in Sutton, South London. It is an £8 million facility using audiovisual equipment to make young people more street smart and better able to deal with the dangers and risks they face in life. It aims to encourage community engagement and involvement. It was opened on 27 October 2010 by the then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Sutton Life Centre is a community and education centre in South London, which houses a blend of facilities under one roof, including an educational experience, a library, café, climbing wall, eco garden, sports pitch, and youth club. There are a number of spaces which are available to hire including meeting rooms, events spaces and an IT suite equipped with 12 Apple Mac computers.
The library is designed to be more like a High Street bookshop than a traditional library. It also offers longer opening hours and a self-service facility for borrowing books.
The centre's educational facilities support PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) studies for pupils in Key Stages 2 and 3. They provide an immersive virtual world through the use of surround sound, lighting effects and interactive features. Pupils are taught about topics such as citizenship, personal safety and the environment. They will experience a range of real life scenarios which help young people to deal with them in the outside world.
The Life Skills Zone
The Life Skills Zone is described as being 'Europe's first super classroom' combining cinematic effects such as surround sound, evocative lighting and giant projection screens with immersive educational material on a range of topics within the PSHE agenda. The Life Skills Zone was designed to encourage young people to life safely, enable them to make informed life choices, and empower them to become responsible citizens. 
Primary and secondary schools are able to book a visit to Sutton Life Centre for pupils in Key Stage 2 (KS2) for Years 5 and 6 and Key Stage 3 (KS3) for Years 7 and 8. Schools have the option of visiting for half a day, or for a full day. The half day experience consists of a Life Skills Tour only, and lasts for approximately two hours. The full day experience consists of a Life Skills Tour in the morning followed by two 45 minute workshops in the afternoon. 
The Life Skills Zone is divided into four distinct areas, each of which delivers a unique learning experience.
The Street Experience has a film set feel, and is designed to look like a real street, complete with shop facades. Topics covered include bullying, alcohol, smoking, drugs, peer pressure, knife crime and gang culture.
The Transport Experience is designed to look like a railway station, and covers topics to do with public transport, including platform safety, respecting others, robbery, personal safety, littering and graffiti.
The Home Experience is a fully fitted apartment with four rooms. Pupils will make their way through a kitchen, dining room, living room and bedroom to learn about keeping safe in the home. Topics covered include nutrition, domestic violence, fire safety, cyberbullying and internet safety.
The Virtual Experience is a 360° white room theatre which delivers fully immersive videos about urban hazards and the environment. Topics covered include exploring derelict buildings, trespassing on the railway, arson, waste, recycling, climate change and energy efficiency.
A teacher from Granton Primary School said: 
|“||Year 6 had a brilliant couple of days visiting the Sutton Life Centre, a unique, state of the art educational and community facility that supported our PSHE and Topic learning about global citizenship. Thank you Sutton Life Centre for a brilliant two days - we hope to see you again soon.||”|
A teacher from St George's Weybridge said: 
|“||Last week, all children in Year 6 at St George’s Junior School, Weybridge had the opportunity to visit the amazing Life Centre; the country’s first ‘super classroom,’ as part of the PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) curriculum. The immersive nature of the learning environment really captivated both children and teachers! Powerful images were backed up by breathtaking facts which promoted discussion both at the end of the session with Constable Ash, the resident community police officer and back in the classroom. Our visit really helped our Year 6 children as they prepare for the exciting move up to senior school.||”|
A teacher from Surbiton High School said: 
|“||Year 8 had a fantastic time at the Sutton Life Centre at the start of October. Through the use of giant projection screens and interactive technology, the Centre encouraged the pupils to reflect on challenging real-life scenarios and how best to handle difficult decisions. The girls approached the activities with energy and enthusiasm, developed their teamwork skills and enjoyed their informative session with a local policeman. Staff and teachers were impressed by the pupils’ maturity and thoughtfulness throughout the morning – a very valuable learning experience.||”|
A pupil from Rowan Prep School said: 
|“||Year 6 really enjoyed the Sutton Life Centre trip. We learnt about many situations and dangers you may face whilst you are growing up. We all took away some interesting facts and tips on how to stay safe. Now we all know about fires, public transport, bullying and lots more. Altogether it was a very successful day.||”|
A pupil from Micklefield School said: 
|“||At Sutton Life Centre they teach you what to do in serious situations like a fire or someone trying to influence you to smoke. In each section you would be told about different situations in life like in the house and there is a disagreement or problem and what you could do. The transport section told you about the yellow line on the train station platform and if you go past it you could get swept under a train. This section also demonstrated about acceptable behaviour on public transport and possible dangers to look out for. There was a quiz at the end to ensure that we could remember all the facts. If we answered correctly, some of us were lucky enough to get water bottles from the Centre. That was a quick preview of Sutton Life Centre. I hope that next year’s Year Six’s enjoy it as much as we did.||”|
Sian Rowland, an Independent PSHE Advisor said: 
|“||Sometimes I’m lucky enough to visit some interesting places for work and this week I was invited to shadow some year Eight Students as they took a tour around Life Zone at Sutton Life Centre. What I really loved about this tour was how teen-centric it was. One of the criticisms of PSHE is that it can be out of date or irrelevant to students’ needs. This felt exciting and thought-provoking- the actors in the films were youngsters and the problems felt relevant. The tour lasted around two hours and although loads of information was crammed into a short period, it didn’t feel rushed at any point and there was plenty of time to reflect and think. As part of a planned PSHE programme this tour would really support and enhance classroom learning. Even the teachers seemed to be having fun and that’s got to be the ultimate stamp of approval!||”|
Safety Centre Alliance
Sutton Life Centre is a member of the Safety Centre Alliance which was designed as a forum to help support permanent UK safety centres through development and networking between members. There are a number of safety centres which exist across the UK which deliver educational experiences on safety to children.
Renewable energy on site provides for half of the building's requirement, and it was given an award of excellence by BREEAM for its use of sustainable energy. The centre was included in the 2014 Open House London programme.
Award from Suzy Lamplugh Trust
The centre was instrumental in the Safer Sutton Partnership Service, a joint venture between the London Borough of Sutton and the Metropolitan Police, winning the national Safer Community Award from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust in 2010. Sarah Haddon of the Trust said:
|“||The Life Skills Zone of the centre has particular emphasis on improving personal safety, especially for young people. We see tremendous value in this resource and applaud Sutton Borough Council for its imaginative approach to the issues.||”|
- Elliott Wood
- "Sutton Life Centre". New London Architecture. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg officially opened Sutton Life Centre", Sutton Guardian, 27 October 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
- Library @ Life Centre
- SYSCO Audio Visual Solutions
- UK School Trips
- Safety Centre Alliance
- BBC News
- PSHE School Trips
- Life Skills Tours for KS2
- Life Skills Tours for KS3
- "Year 6 Visit Sutton Life Centre". Granton Primary School. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "Year 6 Visits Sutton Life Centre". St George's Weybridge. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "Surbiton High School Year 8 Sutton Life Centre Trip". Surbiton High School. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "Yr 6 Visit Sutton Life Centre". Rowan Prep School. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- "Sutton Life Centre". Micklefield School. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "A Visit to Sutton Life Centre". Sian Rowland. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "The Sutton Life Centre". Open House London. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Lifetime award for pioneering centre 30.11.10". LBS Press Office. Retrieved 25 October 2014.