Tuesday 5 March 2019

Three worthwhile projects to get Brent Neighbourhood CIL grants

It is a pleasure to give details of three Brent projects that, subject to Cabinet approval on Monday, will receive funds from the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy. Cabinet has to approve any NCIL grants above £100,000. Extracts below are from the report to Cabinet

Citizens Advice Brent (CAB) £248,000

CAB seeks to refurbish and transform its current premises to deliver a new Community Hub resource for residents of Brent. The Hub will be open to CAB partners and all residents of the borough; particularly the most vulnerable who form the majority of users.
The refurbished hub will provide: 
·      Expanded space - the space will be reorganised to offer public access PCs, brighter and more inviting interview rooms and a welcoming reception area
·      Reorganisation of facilities - including terminals for people to make online benefit and other claims, assisted by Digital Assistants to navigate a number of websites
·      Improved facilities - this will create a pleasant working environment for users and staff and improve the client experience
·      Improved Health & Safety- The refurbishment will make the premises fully compliant with Health & Safety and equality requirements; and
·      Environmental efficiencies - The project will be energy saving and improve the office carbon footprint.

CAB is based in the Willesden CIL Neighbourhood but provides services to all Brent residents. It is a registered charity (no. 1049632) and company (no. 3091835) where people access advice and support to manage a range of issues including welfare benefits, housing and homelessness, debt, employment and immigration. The Hub will also develop the skills of volunteers. 

The Sickle Cell Society 

The Sickle Cell Society has operated in Brent for 40 years from 54 Station Road, Harlesden. This project aims to refurbish the current premises and create a new, fully accessible, ground floor space which will be used for sickle cell support and focus groups, events, and for individuals and families to drop- in for confidential support and advice. It will also be available for any local community organisations to meet. This will fill a local void in amenities for these groups.

Works will include: 
·      Lease of the neighbouring ground floor shop space and connecting this new space to the existing ground floor space
·      Developing the ground floor to offering expanded community access of the facilities; and
·      Creation of a new modern ‘shop front’ across both properties which will help to enhance the visual appearance of Station Road.

The Sickle Cell Society has secured the lease for 56 Station Road from its own resources and submitted a change of use application for the ground floor. Consent was granted in December 2018.

The Sickle Cell Society is a registered charity (no. 1046631) and company (no. 2840865). The current headquarters play a key role in educating people about the sickle cell and management techniques. Services delivered from the building enable those affected to better support themselves, empowers carers and provide peer forums. In addition to local visitors, the expectation is that the refurbished premises will be used to host growing numbers of visitors from the wider London community, across the UK and other parts of the world

St Catherine’s Hall 

St Catherine’s Hall, Neasden was burned down in a major fire in September 2018. Prior to that it offered one large community hall, which was used by seven regular hirers

An insurance payment will fund the restoration of the building as it was. NCIL funds are requested to increase the capacity of the building to accommodate more spaces for local community groups and to improve the visual presentation of the building on Neasden roundabout.

This project will provide the following additional facilities: 
·      Creation of a second floor - providing a second large flexible hall which can be divided in two with its own toilet and refreshment facilities
·      Creation of a new toilet and refreshments facilities, which will free up one room for two new small group meeting rooms; and
·      Creation of a visually striking foyer area which will make use of the hall easier but will also enhance the look and feel of the Hall site on Neasden roundabout.
·      All the new spaces will be available for hire by local community groups seven days a week. 

The hall is based in the Willesden CIL Neighbourhood but the expanded community facilities will benefit the whole borough.


St Catherine’s are holding a community consultation on Saturday. The is the message that the vicar, Rob Harrison posted on The View from Dollis Hill Facebook LINK
Last September, St Catherine’s Church Hall was burned down in an arson attack. This year, we will be rebuilding it as a Community Hub for Neasden.

The key question is: what kind of Community Hub does Neasden need?

On Saturday 13th March there is an open Consultation Day to hear and share suggestions about what kind of facility we should build to serve Neasden for the coming decades.

If you would like to take part in this consultation, please reply to this post. 

The Consultation day begins at 10.30am on Saturday, and will finish at 3.00. Lunch will be provided for those staying for the whole event.

The morning session will focus on the kind of building that Neasden needs. The afternoon session will focus on the kind of resources that will be needed in that building.

The voice of local residents is vitally important to helping us build what Neasden most needs.

He added the following note today:

A call to Polish and Romanian members of our community. 

At present, over 40 people of our local communities have booked in to take part in the Community Hub Consultation at St Catherine’s Church on Saturday (10.30am - 3pm). Looking at the list of names, there is no representation of the Eastern European communities who are an important part of our Neasden Community. As we seek to build a Community Hub for Neasden, it is important that as many local needs as possible are expressed and heard. If you know people who could bring a perspective from those parts of our community, I would be delighted to include them in our consultation.

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