Revamp for Highgate’s Holly Lodge family centre but community centre still in jeopardy

Residents have won their long-running battle to rebuild the family centre in Highgate’s Holly Lodge estate – but are still fighting to save their community centre.

Camden Council has announced that �200,000 raised from the sale of council homes in Makepeace Avenue will be invested in renovating the family centre.

It is currently housed in a leaking temporary building which residents say is not fit for purpose.

The money was initially promised to residents before the general election. But it had been put on hold by the council after unprecedented spending cuts.

Residents on the 1920’s blocks are pleased at the announcement over the family centre.

But they feel “let down” by the council after it reaffirmed it would axe �30,000 core funding from the estate’s community centre. This was despite pleas from a delegation of residents.

Resident Elizabeth Doherty, who has lived there for 14 years, said: “We are pleased that the money will be ploughed back into the estate - particularly as it comes from the sale of flats in Holly Lodge. We wanted it kept within the immediate community.”

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But much of the family centre’s administration is run by the community centre and residents warn that the funding cut raises a question mark over the future of the revamped centre.

Grace Livingstone, of the Holly Lodge Residents Association, said: “The services to the old and young people are still under threat on Holly Lodge. That grant pays for the staff and if that is cut we can’t run classes like the luncheon club and some of the staff at the family centre.

“While we are very glad we are going to have that new building, you can’t have a building and no staff.

“They have said they will help us think of ways to fundraise but we are still very concerned about the future of Holly Lodge.”

Cllr Sarah Hayward announced the council would recommend the �200,000 investment in the family centre - subject to planning permission.

She said: “We are very committed to helping organisations find alternative forms of funding. We will continue to support Holly Lodge as much as we can.”