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We have secured funding for a new woodwork shop in Raydon Street. From this article in the Camden New Journal many of you will recognise Ricky, who is already involved in Carpentry at HNCC -

This is a new investment for HNCC - second phase is a new arts complex. This will be a new community space in addition to the new centre planned on the Bertram street site. We have done this through a new Partnership with the Conservation Foundation - look at this link:

A Space for All.
Our team has a wealth of experience working with children and adults in an artistic environment. We are passionate about personal service and endeavour to give our visitors a unique and creative experience with a friendly touch. Our aim is to offer everyone in the community a fun, safe, and creative space for children, friends and families to come and enjoy quality time together whilst creating wood objects to treasure

Carpentry Reparation Placement in partnership with Camden Council.
For the last six years Camden Youth Offending Service has been supported by Ricky Jefferson and his carpentry workshops for young people. This work is done as part of the community service orders young offenders receive when they commit a crime. These 'reparation hours' are compulsory, and have to fit two criteria in order to be appropriate; first, the work the young people do must make a meaningful contribution to the community. Second, the work must be constructive for the young person, helping them to engage with a side of themselves that can move them away from offending behaviour, and develop their pro-social identity.

The work that Ricky does with young people is an effective match for both these criteria. The furniture that the young people create or fix is given to members of the community who need it, and the bird and plant boxes that are made are given to appropriate centres or houses that would benefit from them. Furthermore, the work being done is engaging for young people to attend.

Commonly one of the biggest difficulties of reparation placements is keeping up levels of engagement in young offenders, Ricky's approach to both work and the young people themselves is effective at keeping them highly engaged. A calm and approachable manner, coupled with a good knowledge of his craft, enables young people to learn effectively from their activity, gaining not only knowledge of carpentry, but also developing good social and communication skills. Examples of the impact of the workshops can be demonstrated by way of two example cases:

• There was a young woman who was initially assigned to complete a different reparation activity, but was moved on to carpentry as she had an interest in that area. She was committed and focused on the work, and was given the opportunity to develop her carpentry skills thanks to the quality of the learning environment in each session. Following on from her reparation, she decided to go on to study carpentry at college, due in large part to the teaching she had received from Ricky. In addition, the bird box she made during her time on reparation was used as an exhibition piece at city hall, giving her the opportunity to feel real pride in what she had accomplished. All of this was made possible thanks to a combination of her own passion and interest in the subject, and to Ricky sharing his own passion for carpentry, encouraging her to get involved and develop her skills.

• As a second example of the impact of carpentry on young people, we had an young man who was studying at a pupil referral unit, and had a variety of learning and behavioural difficulties. It proved hard to find reparation he could do, as his levels of engagement were particularly low due to his complex needs. He was eventually given the carpentry placement, where Ricky managed to get him to start engaging. After a few weeks his behaviour started to improve as he became more comfortable with the environment. He was eventually able to work by himself and use his own initiative in a way that was not possible at the beginning of the sessions. The support and input that Ricky provided was very useful for this young person, even to the point that he wanted to carry on with the sessions after he had finished the initial hours given to him.

Best wishes to all
Andrew Sanalitro, Centre Manager

This poster was found tied to a bicycle at the top of Bertrand Street at the beginning of February 2019. Could it be connected with the punchbag support posts which have been attached to the walls on both sides of the People's Gospel Mission Hall?

Interior of Gospel Mission Hall

We understand that the Police, who have had a community base at HNCC, are offering these classes. If so, it appears that they will continue making use of the Hall during the rebuilding period. Does this also mean that Camden Council are reconsidering their plans to replace the hall by two town houses? HNCC's Trustees may not have the answer to this question so if we can get confirmation from Camden Council, we will add this information. See also, Mary Cane's letter on this subject to the Camden New Journal dated 14th February 2019

Anxieties expressed in Mary Cane's letter to the CNJ about potential damage to the walls of this ancient building are well-founded, judging by the fact that two lumps of plaster have fallen off the wall, due to enthusiastic use of the punch bag in one of the boxing sessions - see the additional hooks attached to each bracket.
Watch this space for more info.....

Message from Centre Manager, Andrew Sanalitro: 22nd February 2019:
The Highgate Newtown Community Centre is pleased to announce that funding has been secured and planning approved, allowing our ambitious redevelopment project to proceed. The new four story community centre plus two halls is planned to accommodate the following activities - in two years' time:
Ground floor: Police community room • Low cost laundry • Hairdressers and Nail bar training young people for work • NHS services health and well being • seating for 50 people
Second floor: Pottery studio all ages • Wood work craft space • Art and after school classes English maths for excluded pupils • Meeting room
Third floor: A range of Camden run services for children and families
Fourth Floor: Fresh Youth Academy - youth and families • Gym for all ages Two new community halls: 60 plus under 5s and activities • Saturday evening performing • drama • bingo • a mix of activities.
See link to post dated 20th February 2019: Redevelopment going ahead:

A number of HNCC members attended the meeting, together with other members of the public occupying Galleries 1 and 2, overlooking the main chamber. Below, in the chamber were those who had applied to speak, including Robert Aitken, Chair of HNCC (in favour), Tamar Swade, tutor of Pilates classes in the People's Gospel Mission Hall (whose objections focused on the loss of this historical asset), Lizzie Smith, resident of Winscombe Street (also against) and two Camden Councillors.

Written submissions included Tamar's and Lizzie's statements which they were also allowed to present verbally, sharing 5 minutes of presentation time, both speaking eloquently and coherently. Thanos Morphitis, who was not present had set out a substantial objection to the whole proposal covering (i) the loss of public open space, (ii) inadequate facilities for children under 5 with no access to outside safe play space, (iii) problems in traffic, servicing, parking and deliveries, as well as (iv) the prospect of providing a cycle through-route safely in the proposed plans, but scant, if any, reference was made to his objections, except by a member of the Planning Committee, who picked up on the aspects of traffic turnaround and lack of safety for children. She later abstained, rather than voting against the proposal.

After a great deal of procedural introduction and a lengthy presentation by David Fowler, chief planning officer, members of the committee crowded around to view a model of the proposed new buildings displayed in the middle of the hall, then the submissions of those who had asked to speak were heard (as above), followed by brief statements from those in favour including Luke Joyce, Project Coordinator, a lady who coordinates the provision of youth facilities, who was "excited" by the scheme, Robert Aitken who stated that the Trustees were fully in support although they would be challenged to keep alive the activities of HNCC, which were being dispersed to neighbouring venues during the building period.

The local Labour Councillor Anna Wright spoke in favour, although she had reservations about the traffic problem and the loss of the hall in Winscombe Street and urged the Council to explore every possible option for removing the hall from the scheme if alternative finance could be found. Councillor Sian Berry was concerned about density and impact on neighbouring properties and also spoke in favour of retaining the Gospel Hall for the community and asked for options for more affordable homes to be included, and was concerned about management of the construction process in terms of environmental aspect and conditions of work, but at the same time wanted them to just get on with it.

Finally, there were questions by members of the Planning Committee, which were all very lengthy - the meeting continued from 7pm until 9pm. Briefly, the conclusions were as follows:

(1) That the application for the People's Gospel Mission Hall to be considered an Asset of Community, had been AGREED, although it was made clear that this would not necessarily have any impact on the decision of the Planning Committee. NB this Hall is off-site in adjacent Winscombe Street, and we have been informed by Luke Joyce that they are planning to use it as a site office during the building - see also a report that the Police will be using it for Boxing Classes. NB a Save the Gospel Mission Hall Group has recently been constituted, and it is clear that much further work will need to be done by this group if this Hall is to be saved for the community - see Notes of Inaugural Meeting held on 14th February 2019.

(2) The overall proposal to demolish the current buildings and build one small block to house both the Community Centre and Fresh Youth Academy, plus two blocks of new flats, numbering 41 altogether, including just seven to be rented out at "affordable" rates, was AGREED.  

DRAFT NOTES (mainly from memory - MF) at 17/2/2019 which may be updated as a result of other contributions and/or further viewing of the podcast of the meeting:

Venue: People's Gospel Mission Hall, from 11am

  1. This rather hastily convened meeting included 15 HNCC members who had attended the Pilates class, together with their Tutor plus another member who attends two other classes.
  2. The context of the meeting was the upcoming Meeting of Camden Council's Planning Committee, and the advice we had received to organise ourselves formally.
  3. Those present unanimously agreed to the proposal to set up an organisation called the Save the Gospel Mission Hall Group, and all signed the document that Michael Ellman had prepared being a Draft Constitution.
  4. Nominations for four Trustees so far were received and approved, namely Mary Cane, Michael Ellman, Sally Donati and Mary Fee.
  5. Michael reminded those present to attend Camden Council's Planning meeting to be held the same evening at the Crowndale Centre, 218 Eversholt Street, London NW1 1BD from 7pm

Gospel Mission Hall

In order to save the Gospel Mission Hall from being sold off private dwellings and therefore lost to the community, centre users have launched a campaign to have it declared an Asset of Community Value, led by Tamar Swade, pilates tutor. Over a fortnight after the letter had been submitted on 2nd January, with the required 21 signatories of individuals resident in Camden , Tamar received a reply saying it had to be filled in on an Application Form - which helpfully explains that a Community Group has to be formed with a Constitution, and that supporting material is required, all to be submitted by Monday 21st January 2019:

Tamar is collecting letters to send to with the completed form to: - so if you write to him direct, after this date, please copy her in. To get involved please Contact Us.

There has been a series of campaigns around the proposed rebuilding programme. Initially the Community Centre was going to be put into the basement of a block of flats (most of which are not going to be on offer at affordable rates), and there was a storm of protest, which resulted in an improved plan. A renewed campaign against the plan as a whole was launched in advance of the planning meeting to be held on 14th February 2019 - see Key Documents, and Contacts in Camden.

An associated campaign, in case all else fails, is to save the historical People's Gospel Mission Hall, which is not part of the centre - it has access from the extension which houses the Fresh Youth Academy (above), but faces out into nearby Winscombe Street (below). The plan is to turn this Hall into two luxury homes - if you wish to follow or participate in either aspect of this campaign and wish to be kept informed, please Contact Us.

David Fowler, Principal Planning Officer. Principal Planning Officer, London Borough of Camden, 5 Pancras Square, London N1C 4AG  

We understand that the deadline for objection to the Redevelopment proposals for HNCC has been extended to 31st January: the actual planning meeting is scheduled on 14th February 2019. Please write to David Fowler as above. Letters may be copied to
"Tamar Swade" <> as well as the following

• Georgia Gould - Leader of Camden Council: 
• Danny Beales - who works with Georgia Gould: 
• Anna Wright, a Labour Camden Councillor:
• Sian Berry, a Greens Camden Councillor:  
• Oliver Lewis, a Labour Camden councillor, AND a trustee of HNCC (conflict of interest):  
• Robert Aitken, Chair of Trustees of HNCC: 
• John Carrier, the third of the three HNCC trustees: 
• Luke Joyce, in charge of the redevelopment project: 
• Andrew Sanalitro, HNCC Centre Manager:
• Keir Starmer, MP: 7 Crowndale Road, Kings Cross, London NW1 1TU:  

Save the Gospel Mission Hall: Letter from Mary Cane to Camden New Journal mentioning new additions to Hall: 14th February, 2019
Community woodwork project searches for new home. Ricky Jefferson helps young people and elderly but is losing his workshop due to the redevelopment of the Highgate Newtown Community Centre Article in Camden New Journal 18th December, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Save this gem of a building for the community to use: Letter from Mary Cane to Camden New Journal: 13th December, 2018

Camden New Journal: 18th October 2018: Sign the petition on Highgate Newtown Community Centre:

Pilates group’s heartbreak at plans to demolish and redevelop Highgate Newtown Community Centre: PUBLISHED: 09:56 12 October 2018 UPDATED 11:21 12 October 2018

Think again about plans for Highgate Newtown Community Centre: Letter to Camden New Journal from Mary Cane: 28 June, 2018
Highgate Newtown Community Centre is highly successful: Letter to Camden New Journal from Robert Aitken, Chair HNCC: 3rd May 2018
Dear Highgate Ward Candidate, Date: April 22, 2018:  Author: Friends of HNCC: Last week FOHNCC wrote to each candidate for councillor in the Highgate Ward. Thank you to those you put their names to the letter. Here is a copy of our submission, and the responses we received.....
Our community centre is a huge asset, let’s not see it go for spurious gain: Letter to the Camden New Journal by ex Mayor of Camden Mary Cane: 01 March, 2018:
Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum: HNCC Development Meeting 26th October Highgate Library: There is a drop-in being held at Highgate Library on Thursday 26th October 2017 between 5.30 and 7.30pm. The project team will be there to discuss the consented proposals along with information about how these are being developed. Everyone welcome.
Green light for Highgate Newtown Community Centre plan which divided neighbourhood: Building consent granted for redevelopment of site at fractious planning meeting: Islington Tribune: 08 May, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
Camden’s decision on Highgate Newtown Community Centre redevelopment is shameful: by: 14 signatories for Friends of HNCC:  CAMDEN NEW JOURNAL: 4th May 2017
New homes to fund redevelopment of Highgate Newton Community Centre: Ham & High: PUBLISHED: 13:56 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:36 03 May 2017: India Block

London Planning News: Highgate Newtown Community Centre, Unity A, B, C, D, E, 25 Bertram Street: scheme approved: Friday 28th April 2017

Why we are backing the redevelopment of Highgate Newtown Community Centre: Letter to Camden New Journal from CLLRs OLIVER LEWIS & SALLY GIMSON, Labour, Highgate Ward, 27 April, 2017
Better options for Highgate Newtown Community Centre: Councillor Sian Berry has lodged an objection to the council's plans to redevelop this community centre in Highgate, knocking it down with no new social housing.Camden Green Party: 19th December 2016
Highgate Newtown Community Centre: big decisions ahead: Highgate residents have been discussing the future of the community centre site for many years. Camden Green Party: Published: 12 November 2016

SYNTEGRA GROUP: An ecology site inspection led to a recommendation for a green roof which, in turn, will provide a range of sustainability measures. Client: London Borough of Camden Development Division via McBains; Completion Year: 2018

The council’s plan for Highgate Newtown Community Centre should be dropped: Camden New Journal: Published: 1 September, 2016
Plan to pull down Highgate Newtown Community Centre 'cooked up behind closed doors' - Camden New Journal: by Dan Carrier: Published: 26 August, 2016
Facebook Event: Discussing the changes to Highgate Newtown Community Centre and Fresh Youth Academy Public · Hosted by Camden Council:  May 7th 2016 2pm-7pm
RCKA to overhaul Highgate community centre: The scheme is expected to start on site in 2015 and complete in 2016. AJ=Architects' Journal: 29 JULY, 2014 BY LAURA MARK

VZDV has been appointed as part of the design team led by RCK Architects for the consultation & redevelopment of the existing community facilities up to and including RIBA 3. 4th Sep 2014

Why It Matters: Highgate Newtown Community Centre: 16Shares Kentish Town’s front is all new cafes, bars and commercial success. Yet we all know how hard the impact … BY KENTISHTOWNER - JUNE 3, 2013