A transformation of convenience

Geraldine Turvey and members of the last elm

Views of residents are being sought for plans to convert disused public toilets in Bruce Grove. 

For decades the impressive black and white building close to Bruce Grove Rail Station has remained disused but an operator will soon be chosen to transform the historic public conveniences which date back more than 100 years.

It all started when resident Geraldine Turvey approached Haringey Council asking if anything was happening to the old building. Geraldine soon formed a community group, The Last Elm (named after the last elm tree which stood in this area) and, working closely with the council, is now asking the public what the building should become.

“It’s amazing what affection a loo can elicit and there is huge public good will towards this building,” said Geraldine. “Overwhelmingly people are saying they would like to see it become a place to meet other people and their neighbours – there’s a wish to turn it into something sociable. And most people would like to see it include some kind of public toilet.”

The restoration will take place thanks to funding from Haringey Council and the Greater London Authority’s Good Growth Fund. Over a weekend in February the council and The Last Elm invited residents along to a consultation at the Grade II listed building.

At this ‘Open House’ session people could take a peek inside the Gents toilets, view an exhibition of plans and give feedback on what they would like to see happen to the local landmark.

“I would like it to be a bakery because I would like some decent bread,” said Rose Napolitano, attending with her family. “It would be nice to have something on our doorstep otherwise we have to travel to Dunn’s in Crouch End. Another of my lot said they would like to see, ‘A charming tea shop’ which could also be good.”

“It will be good if it’s a local business with some kind of social values,” said Philip Hadley, visiting with Jo Goodman. “It’s an interesting building which we’ve passed many times but we didn’t know what it had been until today. It would be great if it’s turned into something for the community.”

Do you have an idea of how the building can be used or know someone who could create something special with the space? Email: tottenhamregeneration@haringey.gov.uk (external link)

Hoardings have now been installed on-site by the council in response to the structural condition of the building, and to ensure safety ahead of restoration taking place. 

For more details visit: www.tottenham.london/BGPC (internal link)

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Spurs return

New Spurs Stadium

Tottenham Hotspur are playing two test events at the new stadium in March.

Two successful test events with increasing levels of capacity are required to be played for the stadium to receive a safety certificate from Haringey Council. Once this has been received Spurs will be able to finish playing this season at the new stadium.

Event day restrictions kick-in for any event with over 9,999 visitors. Match day CPZ restrictions will come into force, there will be road closures and also public transport will be busier.

Spurs have created a comprehensive guide for local residents and businesses covering the operation of the new stadium. It is available to view and download at www.tottenhamhotspur.com/local (external link) or call 020 3946 4040.

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ARRR you ready for the Pirates?!

Anthony Mensah of Haringey Pirates

Shiver our timbers – a pirate ship has docked in Tottenham. But be not afraid as this ship has books instead of cutlasses and the friendliest crew to navigate an ocean of education.

Acclaimed children’s charity the Hackney Pirates has now launched a second ship at the 639 Enterprise Centre in the Tottenham High Road.

Called the Haringey Pirates it aims to replicate the success of its big brother by helping hundreds of nine to 13-year-olds develop their literacy and confidence. These youngsters will have fallen behind at school for any number of reasons and have been referred to the pirates by their primary or secondary school for some extra support.

Once a week, for two-and-a-half hours, they will visit this entertaining environment where volunteers will sit and read with the children on a one-to-one basis or in small groups, followed by a game and a writing session. If previous success is anything to go by the results will be impressive…

“In the space of a year the children are improving, on average, 52% faster than age-related expectations,” said one of the teachers and volunteering manager Anthony Mensah. “And I get Christmas cards from parents saying, ‘My son used to hate reading before coming here but now I can’t get the book out of his hand before he goes to sleep at night!’”

Everyone working for the pirates has a title – Anthony is ‘the Swashbuckler ‘– while the children are known as ‘young pirates’. And everything is geared to make the learning experience as fun as possible, so the children enter through a secret passageway and different pirate characters help with their writing such as Captain Splurge who is good at coming up with ideas and the Refined Admiral who focuses on punctuation.

But why have they sallied forth to Tottenham?

“The main thing was the need in the borough,” said Anthony. “We work with children who have fewer opportunities and we had a look at the different boroughs which are neighbouring Hackney and the level of need here was quite high. So far it’s been great. We only opened at the start of January and we are already working with five Tottenham schools. The council has been very supportive and what we now need are more volunteers.”

The volunteers are essential to the success of the pirates. A large number are needed to ensure each child receives as near as possible the one-to-one help and support needed for them to improve their reading and writing.

Anthony was previously a volunteer. He worked in sales and pharmaceutical recruitment – “which wasn’t the most fulfilling thing in the world” – and enjoyed the volunteering so much he got a job with the pirates five years ago.

“It’s been a wonderful experience and so gratifying to meet a young person a year or two after they’ve been in our programme and see the difference it’s made to them,” he said. “All we ask is that volunteers do one session a month and they are not locked into a set day. We provide full training, so you don’t need any set experience, along with free DBS checks. We are looking for volunteers from a range of backgrounds – essentially people who are interested in engaging with young people and inspiring them.”

If you are interested in volunteering email: anthony@hackneypirates.org (external link) or call 07706 002254.

To find out more visit: www.hackneypirates.org (external link)

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Spring your business into life at The Trampery

The Trampery (Formerly 639 Tottenham High Road)

639 High Road is one of the most eye-catching buildings in Tottenham – but the passerby might have little idea what goes on inside.

Yet step through its doors and you will discover an inside just as impressive as the outside in an Aladdin’s Cave of businesses and individuals showcasing some of the best talents in our borough.

“We have so many different types of businesses including hairdressers, eyelash technicians, a health care agency, an immigration lawyer, a seamstress, and a company building a pirate ship in the loft!” said Stephanie Pryce, the house manager of The Trampery Tottenham, which runs the building. “We’re trying to build a business community on-site with a great atmosphere and sense of community.”

The Trampery is a social enterprise that looks after different sites in London, and last October came to Tottenham to take over this hub for the many creative businesses, community groups and entrepreneurs based here. Consisting of 44 studios and 15 desk spaces (and rising), The Trampery not only oversees the running of the place, but can also provide business support, signpost to courses and workshops, and organise events and networking opportunities for members. Importantly, The Trampery is also outward-looking and is keen to play a big part in our community.

“We chose Tottenham because it’s a part of London that has a huge amount of talent,” said The Trampery’s founder, Charles Armstrong. “We felt we could bring our expertise to work with the London Youth Support Trust, which were already active in the building, and we could do more for the local community. We are interested in whole neighbourhoods, rather than just what’s happening in our four walls, and we are looking forward to working with institutions, whether that’s schools or job centres, to support the work we’re doing here. Over time, we hope the building becomes a focal point for entrepreneurship for the whole of Haringey.”

Indeed, Charles and co have just embarked on a fundraising project to raise £750,000 to upgrade the building’s ground floor, which promises to make it more open to the public and the passerby.

With discounts available for local businesses and special provisions for young entrepreneurs, there is plenty to recommend The Trampery’s Tottenham site as a place for fledging and more established businesses.

“It is an amazing place,” said Zara Afflick who runs her textiles company, Box of Prints, from a studio on the ground floor. “There are few affordable places for me to start a business, but I did an online search and this place came up! It’s very affordable and sociable, and I’m always bumping into other people who work here. The people who run it are lovely. I’ve certainly grown personally and as a business in my time here.”

“They have been very hospitable and really believe in what we are doing,” said Angela Kelly, one of the directors of Phoenix Community Care upstairs. “And we’re very excited about their future plans including a community space and the fact that, as members of theirs, we can go to any of The Trampery’s other sites and use them too.”

For more details of the Tottenham Trampery visit: www.thetrampery.com/tottenham (external link)

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Tottenham is cheddar off with Holly!

Holly Chavez owner of Wine and Rind

If you’re cheesed off with the same old supermarket dairy selection then pop along to Holcombe Market and find Wine & Rind – Tottenham’s first cheese shop.

Run by the effervescent local girl, Holly Chaves, it not only boasts a mouth-watering selection of British and international cheese (plus wine on tap at weekends) but serves up scrumptious cheese toasties for the hungry shopper or passerby from the classic Breville sandwich toaster.

“We’re a friendly local cheese shop with something to suit all budgets,” said Holly. “Delicatessens can be daunting places to walk into because when everything is 100 grammes you have no idea what your bill is going to be like at the end. So sometimes I ask people what their budget is and I can do three cheeses for a tenner or whatever. The reason I opened this was because I was really sick of going to Highbury whenever I needed cheese!”

Holly was a Saturday girl at a cheese shop in Greenwich and within two weeks was running the place when the manager quit. Enjoying the daily rind she stayed for a year, worked at a cheese shop in the Holloway Road, before planning her own grate enterprise!

“It was important for me to open up in Tottenham because this is my home,” she said. “Everyone here is desperate for nice things to do and I was so lucky to find a shop in Holcombe which has to be the friendliest market in London. There is such a great sense of community here and I get to see all the kids growing up when their mums on maternity leave come here for a cheese toastie and a natter!”

The toasties include the popular Cacio e Pepe (mozzarella and pecorino cheese with a handful of black pepper) for a fiver. Holly used to run a stall in St Pancras where the queue would be made of British and French customers coming on and off the Eurostar.

“And the British would always say, ‘Oh gosh! I remember these toasties! I haven’t had one of them in years.’ I don’t use artisan bread but supermarket white bread because that what you put in a Breville –which folk have been doing so since the 1970s! It’s meant to be a nostalgic little snack that people can relate to.”

And what do Tottenham folk like buying at Wine & Rind?

“People love gorgonzola, that’s a very popular one, and I do a gorgonzola and truffle honey toastie which could be the perfect pudding one after the savoury one!” she said. “And I like the fact people come in and say ‘What’s new?’ so I’m always changing up what I have each week. I can’t get enough of the stuff and have no qualms about eating a big bit of cheese like an apple! I eat it all the time – breakfast, lunch and dinner. My boyfriend thinks it’s odd and I guess it is a bit but for me it’s a lifestyle choice. I never get sick of it.”

• Wine & Rind is open Tuesdays to Thursdays, 10am to 4pm, and Fridays and Saturdays, 10am to 6pm.
• Find Holly’s shop on Facebook (external link), Twitter (external link) or Instagram (external link).

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Mayors for the day

Crowland Primary Mayors for the day Bartosz and Maya


Bartosz and Maya, both 11, from Crowland Primary School

Bartosz: “If I was mayor for the day I would fund schools to get more equipment for sports and more fruit for children to eat. Health and sport are really important to me. I don’t think children these days are very healthy – they eat sugar and sweets and just stay at home and play games. I would also organise sports tournaments between schools on my day that will take place every year.”

Maya: “I would give homeless people more food, tents and blankets. I would also rent a huge hotel so they can have showers and get some clothes. I see a lot of homeless people in Tottenham and London and it needs to be sorted. Perhaps on my day we can get experts in to talk and teach people about homelessness and it would be good to hear from the homeless people themselves.”

Bartosz: “There is also a big problem with knife crime and so I would have more policemen on the beat. I do see them around but not that often. I would have more posters to educate people and more security cameras to catch people.”

Maya: “At the end of the day I would hold a big party and have tables full of pizza and pasta and lots of world food. My dad is from Colombia and my mum’s from Peru so I will have tasty South American food.”

Bartosz: “And my family is from Poland and I would have lots of Polish dumplings which I love.”

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Pitch your ideas to Crowdfund London

Crowdfund London, an initiative by the mayor of London, gives you the opportunity to pitch new ideas - big or small - for community-led projects to make your local area even better.

The best could attract a pledge of up to £50,000 to support your crowdfunding campaign on Spacehive.  If you get a pledge and then hit your target, the Mayor of London will support you to bring your idea to life.

In 2019 they have up to £1m to pledge to creative and distinctive ideas that can demonstrate local support.

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A place for those in need

Shardia and Damari at the Food Hub Tottenham

Free food, clothing and toiletries are being offered to the unemployed and homeless at the new Food Hub in Tottenham.

Based at 639 High Road it is open every Tuesday from 11am to 3pm. It is also a place for people who just want to pop in for a hot drink and a chat with volunteers and members of the Gospel Temple Apostolic Church which is running the hub.

“Most of the people who pass through here are unemployed and some are rough sleepers,” said Jason Young, the church’s associate pastor. “The Northumberland Park ward has one of the highest unemployment rates in London so it’s no accident we happen to be here – specifically across the road from the Jobcentre.”

Jason explained some Jobcentre clients might have had their benefits sanctioned and have no money to buy food, so the hub was a ‘first stop shop’ for them to avoid the prospect of starvation.

“I know there are food banks out there but people need to be referred,” he said, “But with us you don’t need a referral and we also don’t have a maximum amount of times people can come here. There is no criteria but we do ask for our clients to fill out a survey form so we can assess their needs. The majority of people are in need but occasionally someone might look at the form and say, ‘I don’t actually fit this’ so it’s not for them.”

All the food is sourced from local supermarkets and is healthy with an emphasis on fruit and vegetables. The food is also well within the expiry date so it can last for a few days.

“It’s very rewarding to see the smile on people’s faces when they leave and when they say, ‘I can feed my family tonight,’” said one of the volunteers, Claudette Young. “We hope to make a difference to people’s lives and we’re here for anyone.”

The church recently received a £4,000 grant from the National Lottery which they hope will fund the hub for at least a year.

“We come here every Tuesday and we like the people who are really welcoming,” said Shardia, attending the hub’s launch with her three-year-old son, Damari. “I have a hot chocolate and a chat and I always leave with a bag of stuff. It’s helped a lot and it means I can pay my bills. There really should be more places like this.”

For more details visit www.gospeltemple.org.uk (external link)

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All the fun of the History Fair

Volunteers at the Percy House stand

Hundreds of visitors have enjoyed a packed day of talks and packed rooms full of stalls at this year’s Haringey Local History Fair.

Once again Bruce Castle Museum was the venue to showcase many of the heritage community groups the borough has to offer. Throughout the day there was also a variety of talks from experts reflecting on different aspects of the area while the Archive Search Room featured some special displays.

“I came here because I love history and it’s half-term so it’s something a little different for my six-year-old son, Lawrence,” said Edwina from Ponders End. “I really like it because you get lots of people from different communities and different age groups and it’s good to educate the next generation.”

The talks ranged from black Georgian Londoners and a 1619 map of Tottenham to 50 years of the Victoria Line and 150 years of Finsbury Park. Meanwhile upstairs boasted a colourful display of stalls from the many history and community groups in Haringey.

“We come here to let people know there’s a fantastic exhibit in Tottenham which they probably didn’t know about,” said David Cracknell of the Markfield Beam Engine & Museum. “We brought along a little model of a beam engine which the children always enjoy and being here is always very encouraging. We see a lot of familiar faces but the important thing is we always get some new ones as well.”

Close by the Percy House Heritage Project had a stall featuring artefacts found from the renovation of the historic house in the Tottenham High Road, as well as a mini knight’s outfit for children to dress in as tribute to one of the most famous of knights, Henry Percy.

“It’s really good to give the heritage ambassadors, a programme of volunteers, the opportunity to come in and help man the stall,” said Joanna Yeung, Percy House’s heritage project manager. “They can share their love and enthusiasm and people seem to really like coming over to our stall.”

However, the success of this year’s fair did result in one slight problem…

“At lunchtime we ran out of sandwiches!” said Deborah Hedgecock, the fair’s curator, laughing. “In fact the whole day has over-exceeded expectations. The talks have been packed and it’s been a good showcase for the whole area. There really is nothing like this in the borough and people come from far away to be here. It’s also good for people moving to the area and finding out more about where they live.”

To find out more about Bruce Castle Museum and the range of activities on visit www.haringey.gov.uk/bruce-castle-museum (external link)

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Tiverton Primary tells all about Tottenham

Tiverton Primary

Tiverton Primary is a vibrant and inclusive school in the heart of Tottenham. Their roving reporters (also known as the newspaper group) have been quizzing children across the school about their thoughts on Tottenham and Haringey: what they love about their area and where they recommend.

At Tiverton Primary, Asma, aged 8 feels that, ‘I love Tottenham because there are many places to go; I would recommend the Wetlands because you can learn about animals there.’

It is the ‘foxes at night’ which Lorraine, in year 6, thinks are great in our area and thinks people (not foxes) should visit Bruce Castle Park Museum.

“I like Tottenham because we have the right to our own voice and we are a mixed and diverse society”, states Natalie in year 6, she goes on to recommend “Ally Pally because it is beautiful and has loads for adults and children”.

Unsurprisingly the food in the area was popular with the children, especially spicy food outlets such as Pepper and Spice (popular with 4 year old Tonya). In terms of a healthy balanced lifestyle, Filip, aged 11, was singing the praises of Tottenham Green swimming pool.

Issaih, aged 7, rated the football team and is proud to be a supporter, while for many children the parks and playgrounds are what makes Tottenham so fantastic. Overall, the children of Tiverton Primary love their area and feel proud to come from Tottenham!

The newspaper club at Tiverton Primary allows them to research and write about life in the school as well as life in the wider Tottenham community. The club's purpose is to give the children a chance to write about their interests and passions, develop interviewing skills and keep our school community engaged and informed.

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