Grahame Park guests get first glimpse of new-look library

The newly refurbished Old Library at Grahame Park was the star of the show as special guests visited our regeneration project this week.

Visitors from Barnet Council, The Barnet Group, Colindale Communities Trust (CCT) and the Greater London Authority (GLA) joined Kate Davies and members of our regeneration team to view the progress being made.

The Old Library has been fully refurbished and is now an Enterprise and Community hub managed by the CCT. Their team, and the “One Stop Shop” have moved into the library, alongside our social and economic regeneration team.

Programmes being offered at the library include volunteering, youth clubs, health and wellbeing activities, training, pre-employment support and help for business start-ups.

The £300,000 project was funded by the GLA’s Good Growth Fund with contributions from NHG and Barnet council. The Hub first opened its doors in mid-April and has attracted 400 unique visitors to date.

As part of the tour, guests also visited the proposed site for the Grahame Park Community Garden, the furniture recycling project, The Loop @ Grahame Park, Sowing Stitches by Living Way Ministries and the site for an outdoor gym.

  • Groundwork London are working with residents and specialist gardeners to transform a space into a community garden where people can relax, get their hands dirty and learn how to grow flowers, plants and vegetables. It is due to be completed in August.
  • The Loop is Groundwork’s furniture reuse and community hub. Andre Naef, the co-ordinator, is a furniture-maker and carpenter who oversees the collection, repair and sale of unwanted furniture from the Colindale area. They also offer volunteering, teach DIY and crafts and take care of repair jobs for residents.
  • Sowing Stitches is a programme which delivers tailoring skills and business training. It aims to reduce inactivity and poverty, increase friendship, self-support, community cohesion and safety. The new premises designed to train 20 people every weekday is currently undergoing renovation, crowdfunded by the community and supported by Mayor of London and Barnet Council grants.
  • The outdoor gym, which NHG funded alongside Barnet Homes, Wates and ABCA Systems, will feature safe and inclusive equipment that provides cardio and strength workouts to beginners and seasoned exercisers alike. It will include 14 pieces of equipment including a spinning bike, cross trainer and assisted pull-up machine. Installation begins next month, and it should be ready to use during the summer holidays.

We also had Michael Anderson from BOOST and Alfred Ekpenyong from Youth Engagement Solutions (YES) who spoke to all the guests about their respective employability and enterprise services they provide within the hub allowing them to target harder to reach people and connecting with them face-to-face.

Finally, the event allowed us to introduce our new economic inclusion offer, Make it. The offer brings together combined resources that includes seven externally funded staff from DWP, BOOST, Twinnings, Love London Working and YES. It will provide statutory, voluntary, and commissioned services that delivers a holistic programme of interventions, will have a specific focus on young people and aspiring entrepreneurs, and training and skills opportunities all in one place.

Tracy Lavers, director of regeneration for Notting Hill Genesis, said:

Everyone had a fantastic time on the tour and got to see first-hand the amount of thought and commitment that is being put in to ensure the community is at the forefront of all the work being done as the regeneration continues.

Bina Omare, chief executive officer for CCT, added: “The partnership with Notting Hill Genesis has brought a new lease of life to a dilapidated building. We felt the excitement from the visitors seeing the holistic approach we have in place to support the community and improve their economic and social wellbeing.”