Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

New Chingford hub finally opening after 600 hours of volunteer work

The inaugural event will take place from 1-5pm on 25th June

Hero for New Chingford hub finally opening after 600 hours of volunteer work
Volunteers hard at work refurbishing the building (credit: Love North Chingford)
By Nadoya Reid 14 June 2022

After years of negotiations and more than 600 hours of volunteering from local residents, a new community venue is finally ready to open in Chingford Station this month.After years of negotiations and more than 600 hours of volunteering from local residents, a new community venue is finally ready to open in Chingford Station this month.

The North Chingford community hub will open to the public from 1-5pm on 25th June, coinciding with the launch of Chingford Historical Society’s new heritage trail.The North Chingford community hub will open to the public from 1-5pm on 25th June, coinciding with the launch of Chingford Historical Society’s new heritage trail.

The hub is the result of hard work by non-profit Love North Chingford and local residents, who refurbished three floors of the Victorian station building, left unused for eight years.The hub is the result of hard work by non-profit Love North Chingford and local residents, who refurbished three floors of the Victorian station building, left unused for eight years.

Love North Chingford chair Roger Brown, 72, told the Echo that returning the building to a usable state was a “mammoth task”, especially given their minimal budget.Love North Chingford chair Roger Brown, 72, told the Echo that returning the building to a usable state was a “mammoth task”, especially given their minimal budget.

The rotten floor of the disused building (credit: Love North Chingford)The rotten floor of the disused building (credit: Love North Chingford)

He said: “We knew it would have been difficult but we did not know the amount of work that needed to be done. One of the floors was rotten, there were leaking water pipes and asbestos and part of the ceiling had to be replaced and rewired.”He said: “We knew it would have been difficult but we did not know the amount of work that needed to be done. One of the floors was rotten, there were leaking water pipes and asbestos and part of the ceiling had to be replaced and rewired.”

Love North Chingford initially planned for most of the refurbishment to be completed by contractors but found this would be far more expensive than they could afford. Instead, they completed the work with assistance from local specialists and members of the community. Love North Chingford initially planned for most of the refurbishment to be completed by contractors but found this would be far more expensive than they could afford. Instead, they completed the work with assistance from local specialists and members of the community. 

Roger added: “We were just amazed at the number of people who came in to assist and raised funds. About 30 local residents came in and did the painting and the flooring. Another resident came in and did the technical work, such as plastering and making a new ceiling.Roger added: “We were just amazed at the number of people who came in to assist and raised funds. About 30 local residents came in and did the painting and the flooring. Another resident came in and did the technical work, such as plastering and making a new ceiling.

“Finishing the buffet room was pretty emotional. At one point, we thought we would never be able to finish it so seeing it completed - and the fact that so many people came out and helped to do so - was overwhelming. I was looking at the labour of love”“Finishing the buffet room was pretty emotional. At one point, we thought we would never be able to finish it so seeing it completed - and the fact that so many people came out and helped to do so - was overwhelming. I was looking at the labour of love”

Some of the team that helped bring the project to completion (credit: Love North Chingford)Some of the team that helped bring the project to completion (credit: Love North Chingford)

The buffet room - originally an antique shop - is now a fully-equipped meeting room for up to 40 people and features a large smart TV. The buffet room - originally an antique shop - is now a fully-equipped meeting room for up to 40 people and features a large smart TV. 

The new community hub also boasts a Local Heritage Room to archive and promote the local history of Chingford, led by the Chingford Historical Society.The new community hub also boasts a Local Heritage Room to archive and promote the local history of Chingford, led by the Chingford Historical Society.

Another key feature, Roger said, will be the hub’s co-working space, offering high-speed internet and a place to work from the many residents who can’t afford to do so from home. Another key feature, Roger said, will be the hub’s co-working space, offering high-speed internet and a place to work from the many residents who can’t afford to do so from home. 

Despite the launch, the community hub development project is not entirely completed, as Love North Chingford still intends to turn the basement into a mini art centre. Despite the launch, the community hub development project is not entirely completed, as Love North Chingford still intends to turn the basement into a mini art centre. 

The basement project is awaiting funding and Love North Chingford hopes to have raised it by the end of the year.The basement project is awaiting funding and Love North Chingford hopes to have raised it by the end of the year.