Community-Led Future – Update from Chestnut People 8th February 2015

Update from Chestnut People  – 8th February 2015

The good news for 2015 is that Chestnuts People continues as a vibrant force for community-led development of Chestnuts Centre and promotion of activities supporting

local people. So, despite Haringey Council installing Bridge Renewal Trust as interim managers, we are actively working on many projects that will result in a stronger community based in and around the centre in the long term.

Since being established Chestnuts People has involved centre users, other community groups in countering the agenda of Haringey Council to close the centre and use it for its own agenda. Chestnuts People has collaborated with the Chestnut Centre & Arts management to ensure the centre remains open while building works are done and has organised well-attended consultation events so that the true voice of users and the community influences the council’s plans for the centre.

Below we update on our current activities, including winning a national funding award to write a business plan and if you have any thoughts on our work then do let us know.

Thank you from all involved in Chestnuts People.

1 Next steps for Chestnuts Community & Community Arts

On 12th January Chestnuts Community & Community Arts received an Eviction Notice from the council to vacate the premises by 10am on 21st January. An appeal was lodged at Edmonton County Court for an extension till the end of the month. An emergency hearing took place the morning of 21st January. Unfortunately, the judge granted the Order in favour of the council.

Within a short space of time court bailiffs supported by council officers and senior local police moved to seize the centre. It was an unpleasant and unnecessary action by Haringey Council, who had refused to consider any attempt for an orderly hand-over. Chestnuts management were given a 2 hour morning slot to sort out belongings on 31st January, and were appalled to see how their property had been piled on the floor and some of it placed on waste piles with a safe door broken open.

Chestnuts Community & Community Arts are considering making a formal complaint to the council about its behaviour and are seeking the best way to get an answer from the council about why they failed to respond to attempts to discuss a dignified hand-over and conducted an unnecessary heavy-handed approach to regaining the centre. Furthermore, a number of letters sent to the council went unanswered and the CC&CA want to understand the reasons behind why the council have not responded to a non-profit organisations request for an independent review.

  1. Chestnuts People continues and grows

Established as an unincorporated organisation Chestnuts People exists to ensure the voice of current users and the wider community is at the centre of any future plans for Chestnuts Community Centre. We want the centre to become a place which is welcoming to all communities; is shaped and led by the locals according to their needs and providing a platform for interaction and reciprocal learning

You can get involved by attending the regular open meetings or by participating in one of our working groups. These cover: fundraising; communications, the future of the centre; and supporting centre users. Please contact us ( if you can help in these area or in other ways.

  1. Locality funding to create a Development Strategy

Chestnuts People were chosen as one of only 25 organisations out of 100 which applied, to pilot a new programme called ‘Emerging Potential’. This national programme which is being delivered by Locality ( offers direct support to community based groups in the form of small grants and /or consultancy support to assist them with developing early stage plans for asset management or ownership.

A task group from within Chestnuts People will receive support in order to create a Development Strategy. Once complete, this document will help inform and guide the groups’ priorities and activities over the coming months. The document has to be completed by16th March.

  1. Royal Court Tottenham want to work with us

We have made contact with the Royal Court Tottenham project, which has recently begun its three year residency in the area. They are supporting community groups with a free introductory workshop and we have asked them to run the one that ‘investigates turning stories into a group performance with the aim of connecting the individual experience with that of the community’. Date to confirmed, but likely to be late March on a Saturday. Email to get updates about the project.

  1. Fantastic support for the community consultation events

Chestnuts People organised several events for users and local people to discuss what they wanted for the future of the centre. Around 60 people were involved and this compares to the low numbers who replied to the council’s own consultation. A report of the Chestnuts People consultation findings has been presented to Haringey Council.

The events involved fun activities as well as serious chat. Please have a look at our short video of the event on Dec 13th:

6 What do you know about the history of Chestnuts Centre?

Chestnuts Community & Community Arts are recording the history and activities that have taken place at the community centre. If you have any pictures or footage please send to

  1. Getting involved in supporting Chestnuts People

You can get involved in our activities by emailing Please tell us what skills and help your can offer.

Supporters who aren’t active are welcome too as you can help us by sharing information to your friends and contacts. Use to contact us about anything in this newsletter or that you want to raise

Please let us know if you do not want to receive further emails.

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