A community centre in Haringey is being run by local residents after they formed a co-operative and launched a successful crowd-funding initiative.
The centre is in Lordship Rec, a park which has provided recreational facilities to people living in and around Tottenham since 1932.
In 2012, an eco-friendly straw-bale building was built to replace an older one in the heart of the park, to provide a multi-purpose space for community organisations. Known as the Eco-Hub, it was financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with the whole community involved in its design and the construction.
Originally, the building was to be managed as a social/community enterprise by local charity Back 2 Earth but in 2012 it was agreed that its management would to be put out to tender. While applications were being considered, the space was managed by the Friends of Lordship Rec (FoLR), which successfully ran a range of community meetings, events and activities.
Following this experience, the Friends, in consultation with other users, decided to establish a co-operative to apply to run the building – and so the Lordship Hub Co-op was born.
By the end of September, the co-op had raised the £18,000 needed to secure the Hub’s future, following a massive effort through Space Hive, a crowdfunding initiative for civic projects.
As well as a large general activities room (which can be hired), the Hub now has a smaller community room for meeting and activities, a community office a cafe and public toilets.
The different spaces are used by the community to host a range of activities, from sketching groups and Tai Chi to toddler groups and Capoeira for Kids.
The hub is also open every weekday for snacks, light meals and drinks, and hosts pop-up kitchens on Saturdays.
“Our co-operative was born through a set of shared values and will be run according to them,” said Dave Morris, a founding member of FoLR and Lordship Hub Co-op board member.
“We will encourage all park users and user groups to become members of the Co-operative, enabling them access to decision-making on all matters of interest to the building. This will establish a sense of collective ownership of the Hub by park users, to complement and extend the principles of community ownership developed during the community-led regeneration of our park as a whole.”