Tate Modern’s Boiler House renamed after Coin Street’s Natalie Bell

Natalie Bell, head of youth and community programmes at Coin Street Community Builders and London SE1 resident, has Tate Modern’s former Boiler House renamed the Natalie Bell building in her honour.

The renaming is part of the artist Tania Bruguera’s Hyundai Commission unveiled at Tate Modern on Monday 1 October. Bruguera has been working with Tate Neighbours, a group of people who live or work in the same postcode as the gallery (SE1) brought together specifically for this project. Natalie was selected by the group for her positive contribution to the lives of others in SE1.

“I am quite overwhelmed by having such a famous building named after me” says Natalie. “I get a real buzz working with individuals and groups in the community, seeing them develop, grow in confidence, become more resilient and enjoying themselves. It’s not work for me, it’s my life. I love what I do and I love this neighbourhood, it’s been my home for many years, its where I brought up my children and where I belong. To be recognised in this way is extraordinary and I feel very proud.

As a single mum, Natalie’s community work started out of frustration of lack of activities and services available for local families. She set up FamilyLinks in 2001 as a volunteer and managed it with other local parents, running services for hundreds of local families and young people.“I have been connected to this area since the 1991 when I had a fashion business at Gabriel’s Wharf. I was lucky enough to get a flat at Redwood Housing Co-operative in Oxo Tower Wharf in 1995 due to being homeless. Co-op living opened my eyes to collective action and empowering people to address their own issues” says Natalie.

In 2002, Natalie became a trustee for Coin Street Community Builders and Coin Street Centre Trust. From 2003-2014 she was the founder and director of SE1 United, a youth forum set up by local young people. These experiences taught her about community organising and youth leadership. In 2016 Natalie became head of youth and community programmes at Coin Street, to which she refers as ‘my dream job!’ In her role Natalie leads a small staff team and lots of dedicated volunteers. Between them they deliver over 40 hours of activities and programmes every week in Waterloo and North Southwark for families, young people, adults and older people.

She is currently studying a MSc at CASS in Voluntary Sector management and runs a community focussed consultancy company, Unleashing Talent Ltd which offers lecturing, training, and action research services for community focussed organisations.

Click here to find out more about Natalie Bell.