Park’s new community hub takes shape but more cash needed

Long-awaited facilities for Firs Farm close to being finished, reports James Cracknell

Firs Farm community hub
Toni Guiver and Helen Osman from Friends of Firs Farm outside the newly-installed modular building

A long-awaited community hub for Firs Farm has taken one big step forward – but more money is needed before it can be opened to the public.

After eight years of planning and fundraising by the charity Friends of Firs Farm, the park’s new modular community hub arrived on site this week. The £300,000 raised to date – a combination of individual donations to the crowdfunder, grants from various other charities and support from Enfield Council – has enabled the building to be erected and installed.

However, the total fundraising target has had to be increased because of rising costs and another £40,000 is still needed to pay for the fit-out of the building, which is set to include a cafe, changing rooms and toilets, and rooms for hire by the community.

Helen Osman, a trustee with Friends of Firs Farm, told the Dispatch: “There is a lot of excitement now we have got to this stage, but the costs have gone up exponentially.

“We are hoping with a push, and if the community really gets involved, we can get over the next hurdle. We have done the hard work to get this building here and now we need just a little bit more.”

Firs Farm community hub
Inside the Firs Farm community hub there remains a lot of work to do

The community hub, which will be owned and run by Friends of Firs Farm, will serve visitors to both Firs Farm Wetlands and Firs Farm Recreation Ground, which has numerous sports pitches. Schoolchildren visiting on trips to learn more about wildlife will be able to use the facility as a base, as well as footballers on the weekend. A sensory room will also cater for children with special educational needs.

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The charity’s chair, Toni Guiver, describes it as a “trailblazing project” and said planning for the hub first began in 2015. “It has been a lengthy process,” said Toni. “It has been something the community has wanted for a long time and we have been driven by the community.

“It is bringing facilities to Firs Farm that will mean people who want to spend time here can do so. Local schools are doing trips to the wetlands to do pond dipping but then when one child needs the toilet they have nowhere to go.”

Firs Farm community hub
The aim is to open the community hub by Easter

If the last phase of the crowdfunding campaign is successful in raising a further £40,000, the aim is to have community hub fully open by Easter.

Other projects ongoing at Firs Farm include tree planting, a sensory garden, and a festival being planned for 2024.

Helen added: “It is such a great location, between Edmonton and Winchmore Hill, which brings these communities together.”

To contribute to the Friends of Firs Farm crowdfunder:

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