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Cllr Peter Mason and other dignitaries at the official opening of new community facilities at the Havelock estate (photo credit - Antony Edwards of heycanitakeyourpicture.co.uk)

New community hub opens at Southall’s Havelock estate

An innovative new community hub that will be home to dozens of services for residents in Southall’s Havelock estate has been officially opened.

As part of the Open Havelock project, Ealing Council and housing association Catalyst have transformed 36 disused garages and 2,000 square metres of empty space on the Havelock estate into a suite of new facilities for the 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, and a range of activities have since been agreed. There 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. And three Southall residents will use the space to help ‘incubate’ their start up enterprises.

Grant-funded facilities

To mark the launch, Ealing Council’s leader, Councillor Peter Mason, his colleague Councillor Shital Manro, the cabinet member for good growth, and Jules Pipe, London’s deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills, joined representatives from Catalyst, Ealing Council and community organisations for an inaugural tour of the new facilities.

Cllr Mason and deputy mayor of London Jules Pipe with The Life Group at the opening of new community facilities at the Havelock estate in Southall (photo credit - Antony Edwards of heycanitakeyourpicture.co.uk)
Cllr Mason and deputy mayor of London Jules Pipe with members of The Life Group at the opening of the community facilities (photo credit – Antony Edwards of heycanitakeyourpicture.co.uk)

Open Havelock has been grant-funded by the Mayor of London through the London Economic Action Partnership’s Good Growth Fund; Sport England; Catalyst; and A2Dominion. Following extensive consultation with the local community, work started on the new facilities in January 2022.

An additional £97,650 has been secured from Garfield Western Charity Foundation and the London Marathon Charitable Trust to improve access to the nearby Grand Union Canal, making the facilities more accessible to local people. This work will complement a £1 million ‘Wellbeing Way’ project already underway by the Canal and River Trust, Ealing Council and Catalyst to improve towpaths and integrate the canal with nearby green spaces.

“Making life better for our residents”

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.

People taking part in a mindful movement class at the new community facilities at the Havelock estate in Southall (credit: Antony Edwards of heycanitakeyourpicture.co.uk)
People taking part in a mindful movement class at the new community facilities at the Havelock estate in Southall (credit: Antony Edwards of heycanitakeyourpicture.co.uk)

“We’re delighted to see the difference this has made to the Havelock estate.” 

“A thriving space at the heart of the community”

Nicola Wheeler, head of community investment for community programmes and services at Catalyst, which is a subsidiary of the Peabody Group, added: “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.

“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.”

“A brilliant example of community co-design”

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.

“We are delighted that the Good Growth Fund continues to support locally-led partnership projects right across the capital as we build a better London for everyone.”  

What else is happening?

Catalyst and Ealing Council are working together to regenerate the Havelock Estate and have built 289 new homes in the first phase.

You can find more information on Open Havelock here.


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