Walthamstow community centre still needs to raise thousands to avoid closure, reports James Cracknell
A new appeal has been launched to save Harmony Hall, the Walthamstow community centre under threat since 2017 after its landlord put it up for sale.
Home to several mental health groups and young people’s clubs, the Truro Road venue is managed by local charity Crest Waltham Forest, which needs to secure £1million to buy the building. Crest WF is seeking a combination of external investment and grant funding to buy the building, but needs more time to raise the capital it needs. In the meantime, owner Livability has said Crest WF must pay £15,000 rent for the next six months or face eviction.
An appeal has been launched online and has so far raised just under £5,000. Alan Horne, from Crest WF, said: “As well as being a very popular and busy community centre, it [Harmony] is also seen as a special place of welcome for those experiencing mental health problems, hosting a lunch club, user-led support groups and regular art exhibitions of those who use art as part of their recovery.
“The campaign to save Harmony has reached a difficult point and we are reaching out to our friends for their support. Crest’s tenure has historically been rent-free, but the landlord is unwilling to allow more time on the same basis.”
Harmony Hall owners Livability, itself a registered charity, was approached for comment by the Echo but did not respond. It had previously said that while it needed to sell the building because of its own financial pressures, it wanted to see it protected from redevelopment by using planning restrictions on community buildings.
Meanwhile, Crest WF has decided to close its long-running Walthamstow charity shop. Alan added: “Crest has had a Walthamstow High Street presence ever since 1995, over which time many local volunteers have supported us. It has also been a great advertisement for the work of the charity in the fields of disability, dementia and mental health.
“Increasingly it has proved difficult sustaining a stand-alone shop in a marketplace dominated by the big national charities with their brand allegiances. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff, volunteers and, most importantly, customers who have supported us.”
Support Crest WF’s campaign to save Harmony Hall: