According to Ealing Council and Catalyst, which is part of the Peabody Group, 36 abandoned garages and 2,000 square metres of empty space have been turned into Open Havelock, a new community hub which it says is there for the benefit of the local community.
The hub includes a multi-purpose room, workshops, children’s play and learning spaces, a community kitchen, changing rooms and secure storage facilities.
During the summer, community groups and local organisations were invited to express an interest in occupying the hub. Among the use will be a cycle hub for maintenance and organised bike rides, an environmental improvement hub for community-led eco initiatives, dance and movement workshops, youth activities and outreach work, mentoring and tutoring, mental health workshops and wellbeing activities.
Three Southall entrepreneurs will also use the space for their start-ups.
The ‘Open Havelock’ project has been grant-funded by the Mayor of London through the London Economic Action Partnership’s Good Growth Fund, Sport England, Catalyst and A2Dominion.
Additional funding was secured from Garfield Western Charity Foundation and the London Marathon Charitable Trust to improve access to the nearby Grand Union Canal.
Nicola Wheeler, head of community investment for community programmes and services at Catalyst, said: “Our goal was to create a thriving space at the heart of the community where local people can socialise and take part in a diverse range of activities that benefit their physical and mental wellbeing.”
Ms Wheeler added: “The local community was involved from the beginning and their feedback was invaluable in informing the design of the whole project. It’s fantastic to see our shared vision coming to life, and we wish our new tenants well as they settle into their new home. This new hub and the improvements we are making in outdoor areas of the estate are set to bring significant benefits to the community for many years to come.”
Councillor Peter Mason, the leader of Ealing Council, said: “The Open Havelock project is an excellent example of the council and its partners coming together to make life better for our residents. By working together, we’ve delivered some outstanding facilities for local people to exercise and socialise in. And by renovating and refurbishing these formerly derelict spaces, the project has also helped us tackle several issues that residents have raised about life on the estate, like anti-social behaviour and a lack of things for young people to do.”
Deputy Mayor for planning, regeneration and skills, Jules Pipe, said: “Open Havelock is a brilliant example of community co-design and how creative reuse can unlock new facilities for learning and play. It is also great to see the role of young people at the core of the project, with a range of youth activities, outreach work and local support for start-ups.”