Sutton Life Centre

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Sutton Life Centre
Sutton Life Centre IMG 3464.jpg
Interior of the Sutton Life Centre
General information
Location Sutton, Greater London
Address 24 Alcorn Close, Sutton, SM3 9PX
Country England
Coordinates 51°22′44″N 0°12′6″W / 51.37889°N 0.20167°W / 51.37889; -0.20167Coordinates: 51°22′44″N 0°12′6″W / 51.37889°N 0.20167°W / 51.37889; -0.20167
Opening 27 October 2010
Cost £8 million
Client London Borough of Sutton
Design and construction
Architecture firm Curl la Tourelle Architects[1][2]

The Sutton Life Centre is a community centre in Sutton, South London. It is an £8 million facility using state-of-the-art 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.[3]


The Sutton Life Centre
Sutton Life Centre

The centre's facilities support educational curriculum PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) studies for pupils in Key Stages 2 and 3.[4] 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.[5][6] They role play within a range of scenarios to help them deal with them in the outside world: for instance, projections of railway tracks help pupils understand the speed at with a train approaches.[7]

The Centre also has a library, a cafe, a climbing wall, and community, eco, sports, youth and media zones. 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.[8]

The Life Skills Zone[edit]

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. [9]

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. [10]

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.[11][12]

Energy efficiency[edit]

Renewable energy on site provides for half of the building's requirement,[2] 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.[13]

Award from Suzy Lamplugh Trust[edit]

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:[14]


External links[edit]