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pgc all green working and signpost with lettering new colour 2
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The long awaited Community Hub at Firs Farm opened its doors to the public for the first time on Friday morning, providing food, drink and a warm welcome for visitors to this attractive and family-friendly area of grassland, trees, hedgerows and by now well established wetlands.

 visitors to firs farm community Hub on its first day of operationAn hour after Firs Farm Community Hub opened its doors to the public for the first time, the new facility was already 'buzzing'

More than eight years of hard work and fundraising effort by the Friends of Firs Farm finally paid off when the Community Hub opened its doors to the public for the first time at 8am on Friday 23rd February.

The new public facility will be open seven days a week from 8am to 4pm, and these hours might be extended in summer.

leons cafe inside firs farm community HubLeon's Cafe offers an enticing range of snacks and drinks throughout the day

Throughout the day snacks and drinks will be on sale at Leon's Cafe, run by Richie Hardwicke of Chi Chi's in Green Lanes. The accessible toilets are there for anyone who just needs to "pop in", and the hub has the first Changing Places toilet for people with special needs in an Enfield blue/green space.

All this in an area that is some distance from shops, cafes or pubs, but has been increasingly popular with visitors of all ages since a buried stream was "daylighted" (brought back to the surface) and its water used to create a wetlands haven for a wide range of flora and fauna.

water fowl in firs farm wetlandsWhat was once a rather dull area of playing fields (though with an ancient hedgerow running through it) was transformed when the Moore Brook was brought back to surface and its flow deliberately slowed down. The wetlands that were created filter out pollution from the water and reduce flooding downstream in Edmonton

firs farm community Hub being lowered into position

The six sections of the modular building were lowered into position just over a year ago, but a series of frustrating delays prevented bringing the community hub into use until this week

The hub is being operated by Home Care Preferred Social Enterprise, led by Managing Director Ken Waterhouse. Ken is well known to many local people as the founder of Homecare Preferred, offering care for people in their own homes, in the area. A Winchmore Hill resident, Ken has been involved in local charity and community events over the years and is keen to work with the Friends to establish the hub as a venue for a wide variety of activities for people of all ages.

Home Care Preferred Social Enterprise is the community arm of Ken’s company. Ken has appointed a Hub and Events Manager, Anastasia Scheepers.

The hub includes an events space suitable for fitness classes, parties, community events, music and comedy, business meetings, and much more. The events area will be fitted out soon and available for hire. Anyone interested in hiring this space should contact .

Dogs won't be allowed inside the hub, apart from assistance dogs. However, dogs are loved and will be welcome in a special dog friendly zone near the takeaway serving hatch.

changing places toilet in firs farm community hubThe Changing Places toilet in the community hub will make it more practical for people with many different types of disability to visit Firs Farm

"It wasn't a sprint, it was a marathon!"

The successful opening of the community hub is a tribute to the hard work and tenacity of the Friends of Firs Farm who, under the leadership of Toni Guiver, have had to overcome various setbacks.

The Friends have raised more than £300,000 to buy and fit out the modular hub building, through applications to grant bodies, crowdfunding and local community events. There is an ongoing crowdfunding campaign which has so far raised more than £30,000.

Looking back over the eight years of fundraising effort, Toni comments: "It wasn't a sprint, it was a marathon!"

She says the new hub will help many different groups: "It won't be only our community who'll reap the benefit, it will encourage more people to 'get out and get active' in Firs Farm, join the gardeners and other volunteering teams to support the charity, caring for the space for the benefit of people and wildlife.

"Schools are particularly keen to spend more time in Firs Farm, which will be more accessible to them with the new facilities to tap into."

And Toni has an invitation to all readers: "Why not join us for the next Firs Farm project?"

Fundraising: not quite there

The Friends of Firs Farm aren't yet quite there with their fundraising efforts. More money is needed to create a permeable hardstanding area for outside tables and chairs. They're keen to have this ready for the summer.

As well as inviting people to keep contributing to the crowdfunder (see below), they'd like people to organise fundraising events - if you'd be interested, please contact .

Contribute to the Firs Farm Community Hub crowdfunder

firs farm crowdfunder qr codeVisit
or scan the QR code.

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