Ambassador of Appeal
Highgate has been my home for over 50 years. I am married with 3 children and 9 grandchildren. For the last 35 years have been working in the charitable sector, both professionally and as a volunteer.
It was with great pleasure that I accepted the role of Ambassador of this Appeal. I very much admire what has been accomplished so far and look forward to continuing to support HNCP well into the future.
I sincerely hope that many of you can be persuaded to donate through the website http://www.highgatenewtown.org.uk.
The donate button for the new build fit out is on the front page. I am confident that the services planned in this state-of-the-art building will offer a safety net for those in our community with no other options.
Our target is £600,000 and to date we are short £220,000 of the appeal. We welcome your support.
Ambassador of Appeal
As many readers will know Highgate Newtown Community Partners (HNCP) – of which I am Treasurer – is located in Bertram Street NW5 (just behind Highgate Library). We have been working together with Camden Council over a number of years to bring forward exciting new plans for the redevelopment of the Centre. This will include housing, a new public space, and a brand-new community centre for the benefit of local residents. The Council has invested over £6 million into building the new facility. This money will be raised by the Council building homes for sale on the site of the old centre. During the construction period HNCP moved out of the building on Bertram Street and we relocated our activities (including support of older people, children under five, food parcel distribution and subsidised community lunches to a range of locations in the Archway, Highgate, and Dartmouth Park areas. At the time of writing, we have partnerships with Brookfield School in Dartmouth Park, Channing School in Highgate, the United Reformed Church, St Mary’s Dartmouth Park. St Michael’s Highgate and St Anne’s Highgate, where our temporary (and part time) office is located.
This change has proved beneficial as it is popular and has brought us closer to the people we seek to serve. Even after the new Centre is completed, we expect to continue in this ‘distributed and partnership’ mode.
Our new Community Centre building is expected to be ready for occupation late in 2023. We have agreed in principle with Camden Council to take a 20-year lease on the bottom three floors of the building. The Council is offering a discounted rent in recognition of our partnership and the Council’s commitment to be supportive of HNCP and their value to the community. The picture is an architect’s visualisation of the entrance to the new Centre, which will accessible both from Croftdown Road and Bertram Street.
We are raising money to create a welcoming, high-quality facility which brings people together and gives them, those who struggle financially opportunities they would not have elsewhere. We want people to feel valued when they are in the building, and that they deserve quality. Activities such as our launderette and hairdressers will be offered at cost price and art, pottery, cooking and exercise classes will either be free at the point of access or heavily subsidised for those on lower income. The café will serve fresh, affordable food, enabling those who eat by themselves day after day to share a meal with others. We are working closely with local hostels and schools to make sure that the new community centre building becomes an essential support service for people who find daily life challenging.
The centre will have a sports hall, large and adaptable enough to host a range of events such as job fairs and concerts, gym activities, table tennis and community meetings. There will also be several flexible meeting rooms which can be used for classes or rented out to tenants who will provide benefit to the community. We are intending that the new Centre should be open seven days a week, throughout the day and evening.
It will be clear to all who know us that the new building represents a step change in the services that HNCP can bring to the community. Apart from the financial requirement we will need to increase our staffing levels (recruitment will commence in the next few months) and to continue to strengthen our Board of Trustees with people who are willing to take on active role in the direction of the charity. Tomi Ayodeji joined us, and has been on our Board for over a year. We would like to continue this strengthening further.
We expect fitting out the new building to cost up to £600,000 and this is our funding challenge. The Council has made significant investment into the new centre, and it was always part of the agreement that the fit-out works would be undertaken by HNCP. We have so far accumulated over £380,000 and now we are on the lookout for funding of the balance from Foundations, Trusts, families and individuals (which could come with name recognition for funded items or parts of theCentre). If any readers can support us on this journey, or if you know of an organisation who can either contribute to our mission, or who may be interested in working in partnership with us, please get in touch with me, Stephen Hodge, on 0776850299 or by email to:
Treasurer & Company Secretary