Firs Farm Community Hub finally opens after eight years of fundraising

The hub contains a café, toilets, community spaces for hire and other facilities to help people enjoy the park

The Firs Fam cafe is run by Leon
Leon’s Café at Firs Farm Community Hub is run by Richie Hardwicke

Firs Farm Community Hub opened to the public this week for the first time – after eight years of campaigning and fundraising.

Firs Farm is sandwiched between Edmonton and Winchmore Hill and is used by a diverse range of people. The new hub is owned and operated by the Friends of Firs Farm, a registered charity, which has long sought to provide public facilities for users of the park – which contains both a recreation ground with several sports pitches and a wetlands nature reserve.

Over the course of several years the friends group has raised more than £300,000 to buy, install and fit out the modular hub building. This money has come from a variety of sources including grants, fundraising events and a crowdfunding campaign which raised more than £30,000.

Now open, the hub is described as “an exciting new home for the friends and a community space with café, toilets and other facilities to share with local residents”. Visitors can “enjoy excellent coffee and snacks throughout the day – the best coffee in an Enfield park”.

Leon’s Café is run by Richie Hardwicke – owner of Chi Chi's in Green Lanes – and his team
Leon’s Café at the Firs Farm Community Hub is run by Richie Hardwicke, who is also the owner of Chi Chi’s in Green Lanes

The hub will be managed by Home Care Preferred, a social enterprise, and Leon’s Café is run by Richie Hardwicke – owner of Chi Chi’s in Green Lanes – and his team. The café will be open seven days a week from 8am to 4pm, with extended hours proposed during the summer months.

The toilets are available during these opening hours but are open to anyone and not just café customers. It is the first registered Changing Places toilet for people with special needs in an Enfield green space.

The community hub project has been led by Helen Osman and Toni Guiver from the Friends of Firs Farm. Helen said: “The friends would like to thank all the local residents and organisations who have helped us bring facilities to Firs Farm and to Enfield Council for leasing us the land, providing utilities, finance, the paths to our front door and for having faith in us!”

Fundraising is continuing to enable the area around the hub to be landscaped, with tables and chairs for visitors.

In a few weeks the community space will be open, with a wide range of activities and classes for people of all ages. Details will be provided on the hub’s community board and the Friends of Firs Farm website.

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