At the beginning of this year Holy Trinity Tottenham completed renovation of its ‘Old School House’ building which is a wonderful space that has sat unused since its tenants moved out. Now the church has reclaimed the building to use to serve its local community. Central to the riots last summer the church is passionate about opening itself up more to the people of Tottenham.
When I visited Holy Trinity last week I spent time with Peter the chair of the PCC and Father Bunmi the vicar there. It was great hearing them speak about the area, with a passion and love for it, for its history and their desire to anchor a community that is transient and disconnected. I heard about the history of Tottenham, about fishing in Lea Valley and the boundary lines of the Viking land, something you can barely imagine looking around now. I also saw love in action as Father Bunmi patiently undertook his daily litter pick of the church grounds clearing dirty nappies, beer cans and other detritus – telling of the lack of care and ownership some people feel towards the environment they live in.
What’s exciting is that there is a lot of interest and desire to invest in Tottenham to try and give the community a sense of pride and ownership. Different groups from the council, the mayor’s office and local organisations are consulting people, building capacity with local volunteer groups, investing money and trying to build momentum with activities that could change Tottenham.
The Strategic Development Team at the diocese are working with Holy Trinity on a recent bid which has secured money to develop the church’s land alongside the green, to connect it up with the public spaces, provide areas to encourage local makers and art markets as well as giving better access to the Old School House. The vision is that the Old School House and site will be a community hub- a buzzing internet cafe for everyone, with services for those looking for work as well as ambitious plans to engage the children and youth in the area. This fits into a wider regeneration of Tottenham green, if you are in the area look out for local consultation events.
This summer Holy Trinity and surrounding community institutions will be making a noise as we celebrate the Olympics and national market day. Through the events these group hope to be able to engage further with the community and work together to imagine what could be possible for the future of the area in the short and long term.
Please pray for the church to be encouraged as they continue to love Tottenham.