As I arrived just past 6pm I wondered if the hall space had been set-up in enough time for our 6:30pm start.

When I walked in I saw John (our young volunteer) walking towards me away from the hall where, looking through.

I could see that it was all set-up and ready to go; I should have known that it would be. John was always on time and present.

Between 2015 and 2016, John was one of the local young people and families we had met.

He attended a local secondary school and he would often connect with us through outreach, seasonal events and schools work on the Hale Village and Ferry Lane estates as we worked towards the opening of The Engine Room on Hale Village.

Whilst out on outreach I often remember thinking how those initial conversations and interactions sometimes felt awkward as there would be a moment where we struggled to connect as there was not much we had in common – except an interest in the community of Tottenham.

On the local sports pitches we would join young people in playing basketball or football, we ran pop up cafes at the local park and at times caught up with them as they walked by to see how their days or weeks had gone.

We gradually developed programs that ran in our small temporary room that doubled as a space for the community to use.

As our permanent home on the Hale Village state was being built, we couldn’t tell at that point how the relationships we were developing would lead to seeing John and other young people volunteering at ‘Compact’ years later years down the line and being a positive influence on their peers.

Relationship is at the centre of what we have done and continue to do and has lead to strong relationships being built and people coming in to The Engine Room to spend time together.

John is now a University student but is also a positive influence to other young people; he’s often keen to assist with promoting new programmes, rounding up the lads and sometimes pops in to youth club from time to time to hangout.

Compact youth club runs every Thursday, 6.30pm to 9.00pm, at St Francis at the Engine Room, providing a space for young people to socialise, develop life skills and receive support with improving their employability skills.

Since it’s very start it’s been generously funded by the Lee Valley Estates (LVE) Foundation, the charitable arm of the developers of the estate that our church is build on.
It is open to all between 14 – 18 years old with pizza, games, careers support guidance & mentoring.

The Engine Room is a space for everyone where on a weekly basis so much takes place for all age and stages: Tots groups, Yoga, Arts Club, Friday Prayers for the local Muslim community, Homework Club and much more.