New church presence in Tottenham Hale
In 2012, the Office for National Statistics predicted that the population of London would increase by 14% by 2020, taking the total over nine million. This will involve redevelopment in the form of new homes and businesses in pockets all over London. In the wake of these spurts in population growth comes great potential for the growth of a church presence. For this reason, “establishing 100 new worshipping communities” was set as a target of Capital Vision 2020.
Some of these hundred will be church plants, an area where there has already been considerable success in recent years. Many others will entail establishing a new church presence in a place where currently there isn’t one, in housing estates that are yet to be built, and new places where people will live and work.
The first of these is in Tottenham Hale, where accommodation for 16,000 new residents over the next 10-15 years mean that a new group of people is forming on the boundaries of St Mary’s and Holy Trinity Tottenham. The new estate, Hale Village, neighbours the well-established Ferry Lane estate, so building strong links between the two communities is important.
The Diocese of London, in partnership with London City Mission, the Church Commissioners and the Mercers’ Company, plan to establish a church presence within the estate. This will take the form of an interim centre, then a permanent centre. The project is the culmination of over three years of negotiation and planning, collaborating with developers, estates management, housing associations and local authorities. It is hoped that the process will form a blueprint for success in similar projects in new or unchurched estates in the future.
The permanent centre is designed to provide a home for the growing church family, with a sanctuary and main hall, as well as a church office. There’s also a community café, a flexible area for meetings or activities and a 26-place day nursery. It will be on the ground floor of a 7-storey block, with the main sanctuary/hall being of double height. The space will be ready in 2016.
Building community, not just making a community building
But you can’t just open a church or community centre and expect people to walk into it. For the last year, London City Mission community workers, Martina and Andrew have been getting to know local residents through events at the local primary school, pop-up cafés, working with local charities. Through listening to people moving into Hale Village, to find out what community means to them, they’ve put together a programme of activities for the interim centre to cater for all.
The Engine Room
In the two years while our permanent centre is being built, and while designs are finalized and major fundraising takes place, the team are setting up in the ‘Engine Room’, a flexible space in Vickers Court. This is where the new church will begin meeting, with Mass, family church, prayer meetings and bible study establishing themselves in the daily rhythm of this new community. In addition, activities will include knitting clubs, homework groups and film evenings, with provision for healthcare clinics, language classes and training courses.
Launch event on 1 July
The Engine Room was officially opened by the Bishop of Edmonton on Monday 1 July, witnessed by representatives of the organizations and partners with whom we have worked, Rt Hon David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, and local council. Speaking at the opening, Cllr Alan Strickland spoke about Tottenham’s wider transformation, with significant investment making the most of its potential to become a hub of economic growth and new jobs.
Speaking about the Engine Room, the Mayor of London’s Champion for Tottenham, Sir Stuart Lipton, said:
“Working with the Church of England on regeneration in Tottenham gave me a real perspective on how Church is a central part of the community of the future. Its focus on care, education and leadership is outstanding.”
During the opening, the Engine Room was supported in prayer by the 24-7 London Estates prayer week. The new team hope to integrate into this committed group of clergy and lay people who are ministering in estates across London.
Find out more
To find out more, come and see the Engine Room, 109 Vickers Court, Hale Village, on its community open day, 11am-3pm on Saturday 20 July.
This was written by Matthew Girt, Director of Strategic Development Team.