A community garden and creative hub in support of mental health is blossoming in Tottenham Hale.
Called Down Lane Studios it is an imaginative mix of studio and event spaces, nature and a café on the site of an old car mechanics depot in Ashley Road.
The garden – created from scratch using 120 tonnes of soil – will be open seven days a week for the community to use and home-grown vegetables will be sold in the café next door. Meanwhile, the event space will feature music nights that will support not just the project but will raise money for mental health charities.
“We’re looking to raise £25,000 for MIND in the first year,” said Stuart Glen, head of operations. “A lot of DJs and people in the music business are now starting to talk more openly about mental health issues and we’ll be looking to hold music nights where we can get the artists to do them for free or very little money and then we’ll give the door revenue to charity.”
The community garden will also benefit mental health. Run by social enterprise Grow Tottenham it comprises the same green-fingered force which made a success of a similar recent project in Elephant and Castle.
“We’re all about making the most of spaces that would otherwise be wasted,” said Paul McGann of Grow Tottenham. “There will be a staff presence every day so anyone can drop in and we’ll be looking to take referrals from GPs for people looking to combat that feeling of isolation. Gardening has been shown to be good for mental health and a garden is the perfect place to meet people and make connections.”
Paul added that Grow Tottenham has already been contacting local schools and community groups who might be interested in using the garden. Local groups might also be interested in the event space which will available for the community to hire for such activities as yoga or dance while there’s plenty of studio space available for local start-ups.
“I love it around here and there seems to be a lot of stuff happening in this area right now,” said Stuart. “It’s good to grow with that and we are hoping as many Tottenham people as possible come along to get involved with what we’re doing.”
To find out more visit www.downlanestudios.com (external link).