Putting the community Firs

Helen Osman on the progress made with the Firs Farm Community Hub fundraising appeal

Firs Farm Wetlands and (inset) a modular design similar to the one that will be used for a new community hub
Firs Farm Wetlands and (inset) a modular design similar to the one that will be used for a new community hub

I previously wrote in September about the launch of a crowdfunding appeal by the Friends of Firs Farm to help bring new facilities for volunteers and visitors to the wetlands and wider recreation ground.

The friends group has been campaigning for over four years to build a community hub and visitors centre at Firs Farm – which would include a café, toilets and education and fitness space – on the disused car park in Firs Lane, between the wetlands and the playing fields.

Delays with planning permission, Covid-19 and now escalating building costs made it feel like we were taking two steps back for every step forward, but I can now confirm the good news that these facilities will finally be coming to Firs Farm in the coming weeks.

Our modular building is now on the production line and is set to be erected in January, depending on how long it takes to get utilities to the site. We have raised an amazing £250,000 – out of our crowdfunding target of £275,000 – thanks to some grants as well as donations from more than 350 residents. Grants have been made by the Aviva Community Fund and from Sport England, which is keen to see more use made of the Firs Farm sports pitches.

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We would also like to thank local plumber merchants TG Lynes, which selected Firs Farm for a £7,500 donation of materials and labour through its ‘Helping Hands’ good causes initiative. We now have sufficient funds for the building, to install the kitchen and toilets, plus cedar cladding and a green wall to blend the hub into the surrounding natural habitat.

However, fundraising continues to raise the last £25,000 needed to fit out the sensory room, provide a defibrillator, bicycle racks and more, before a planned spring opening. You can still donate to our crowdfunder charity page and we would be delighted to hear from other local businesses which can support us.

We have come a very long way since we filmed our appeal video on a hot day in August, but we couldn’t have got this far without local community support and also Enfield Council for having faith in what a group of volunteers can achieve. We are excited to be close to the finishing line and look forward to welcoming you to Firs Farm Community Hub in 2023.

Support the Friends of Firs Farm crowdfunder:
Visit crowdfunder.co.uk/p/friends-of-firs-farm-charity

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