Families in Shoreditch ‘forgotten triangle’ celebrate reopening their ‘Hut’

Families have been celebrating the first anniversary of setting up their neighbourhood ‘help’ group and reopening a long-disused community hall.

They got together a year ago to form the Wingmore, Gascoigne & Leopold Neighbourhood Group in what they felt was a forgotten corner sandwiched between Shoreditch and Bethnal Green.

The group won a grant from the ‘One Tower Hamlets’ fund to set up a community neighbourhood agreement.

“We want to make the area a pleasure to live in,” said the group’s chair, Katrina Blannin. “It can be run with savings for everyone.”

The group in its first 12 months has planted vegetable beds and organised weekly play days, cleared a neglected playground, planted bulbs and even has ideas to use a vandalised underground car-park for community agriculture—like growing mushrooms!

But above all it has managed to reopen the disused Dunmore community centre, known as ‘the Hut’, which now hosts a weekly Bengali women’s group, a pensioners’ contact point, sessions for Tower Hamlets Play Association and a hopeful Sunday youth drama group.

“The Hut was disused for years and Tower Hamlets Council had done nothing with it,” Katrina told the Advertiser. “It had remained neglected and there was confusion over who was responsible—so we just took it over.”

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Tower Hamlets Homes which manages the estate was more than happy to let them take responsibility for the ‘forgotten’ single storey building which had been abandoned by builders 15 years before.

The neighbourhood group, which covers four blocks in the ‘forgotten triangle’ between Columbia Road flower market, the Boundary Estate and Shoreditch Church, celebrated its first birthday on Sunday with a party in The Hut for the families and wellwishers.