Havering’s first community hub, in Harold Hill, will be opening for residents on June 8th. This is thanks to a team of volunteers from Wates Residential who have turned the site around at the old Housing Office in Chippenham Road.
Disused for two years, the team from Wates Residential have provided their services and materials free of charge to clear the site, build new partition walls, lay vinyl floors, put up ceiling tiles and install shelving before cleaning and decorating, to bring the space back to life. The Council’s housing service has helped by fixing the roof, removing the shutters and fixing the windows as well as repairing the electrics and the fire alarms. This was after local residents helped with the design and the development of the Hub.
Councillor Viddy Persaud, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Safety, said:
“I am really pleased that we will be open our first hub. We want to make it easier for residents in Havering to access council services and this new hub is just the start of this. At the Hub, people will be able to get advice and support on helping to find a job, get access to free Wi-Fi and equipment alongside training and skills opportunities, as well as a wide range of social activities. The great thing is that local residents have helped with the design and build of this too.
“We are also launching a new Community Food Shop where anyone can become a member for a small weekly fee and can get fresh fruit, vegetables and store cupboard essentials, helping to reduce weekly food shop alongside support to improve social and economic wellbeing.
“It’s a great ‘meanwhile use’ of the building, as we look to improve the whole of Chippenham, Farnham and Hilldene. We are so grateful to the efforts of the Wates Residential and the council housing service for getting the site ready and contributing to the local community in this way. People have had a rough time recently, and we can now look forward to opening the doors in June to kick off this new phase in community-led regeneration.”
Adrian Fennessy, Operations Director at Wates Residential, commented:
“The old Housing Office is now all ready to go as Havering’s first community hub. To us, construction is more than just building, it’s also a chance for us to positively impact the communities where we operate.
“As a long-term partner of Havering it’s a pleasure for the team at Wates Residential to be able to contribute this way, and improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing where we operate.”
On top of the work at the new community hub in Harold Hill, £28m of social value investment has so far benefited the local area thanks to the involvement of Wates Residential and Havering Council in the Joint Venture partnership to create around 3,500 high-quality new homes in the borough over the next 12 to 15 years.
This has included 241 people that have benefited from employment and training initiatives and 1,859 students that have been supported by education activities.
To join the community food shop and find out more about the community hub, please visit: www.haveringcommunityhub.com/harold-hill