A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
We have often discussed Shaftesbury Hall on this forum, particularly in respect of the proposed developments over recent years. The statement below, from North London Samaritans, outlines their new proposals for this local landmark:
North London Samaritans – the owners of the hall and the land since 1974 – want to renovate it as a community asset, a hall for the use of the whole area.
In the process North London Samaritans want to include a much-needed new and improved space for their operation which supports everyone in the local community who finds themselves in a state of distress, despair, or possibly suicidal.
The local Samaritans branch is run by dedicated volunteers, operating under the national policy guidance of Samaritans’ General Office, but it has to generate all the money it needs through local fundraising efforts.
This means funds raised are always for survival – rent, electricity, gas, telephones and an increasing amount on stopping the hall deteriorating further – with nothing left to spend on making it fit for purpose again.
In the past without funds, renovating the hall has been impossible despite their desire to do so. Previous attempts to redevelop the site, ongoing since the late 1970s, have always involved a developer prepared to provide Samaritans with a ‘no-cost’ solution for the space they need. Necessarily, each developer has needed to build new homes on the site rather than just a community asset, in order to recover the cost of delivering the Samaritans’ accommodation.
Understandably, many within the local community did not like these plans as they wanted the hall saved. Fortunately for everyone, the plans have not gone ahead. The local Samaritans have always tried to listen to the concerns raised and now there is a fantastic opportunity for the local community to get involved in the future of Shaftesbury Hall via a possible innovative crowd-sourcing model for raising the necessary funds.
North London Samaritans have decided to deliver the redevelopment and renovation project themselves. A dedicated team of volunteers has been assigned to make the project work and already a talented team of professionals have been assembled. The team comprises architects, surveyors, engineers and so on, offering their services at hugely discounted rates because they believe in the project and its intended purpose. The Samaritan volunteers are really working hard to make this happen for the least amount of money possible and the best return for the community as a whole.
In order for the revitalised Shaftesbury Hall to be a truly valuable community asset, North London Samaritans need to have as much of the community as possible involved from the beginning of the new project.
Samaritans want to work with all interested people and community groups – anyone and everyone who is prepared ‘to get in the boat and row’ – to refurbish the hall and create a 21st century facility; same look, shape, and form!
Get involved! Contact us:
Shaftesbury Hall discussion forum: www.shaftesburyhall.activeboard.com
‘Like us’ on Facebook: North London Samaritans
but surely the act of breaking the lock, and/or removing the clasp is criminal damage....?
Yes it would be – if that's what they've done. I guess the only people who know exactly what's going on there – whether these people are squatters or whether they have permission to be there – are the Samaritans themselves. And Caroline says she has informed them.
The police have replied to me:
"I visited the venue yesterday with a colleague. The gate has been pad locked and there is a sign up claiming squatters rights stating that the building is non-residential. There was no noticeable damage to the building.
It will be down to the council to investigate and take legal action to have the squatters evicted. Police can attend on the day to prevent a BOP."
So it will presumably be another lengthy saga for the Sams. Shame.