IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Community centre ‘changed my life’

19 October, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

New manager Elaine Maffrett: ‘I benefited from my local community centre’

A COMMUNITY centre in Tufnell Park has hired a new manager who owes her career to the support that such spaces offer.

Elaine Maffrett, who worked for 10 years in adult and community learning at Islington Council, joined as manager of Hilldrop Community Centre last month.

“I benefited from my local community centre when I had a small child and needed work,” she said.

“I got an admin job there and built a career out of it.

“I feel strongly about community centres and how they have an impact. They do have the power to change lives.”

Ms Maffrett, who has lived in Highbury, Angel and now in Mildmay, added: “I’ve lived and worked in Islington all my life but this part is quite new to me. I am getting to know the residents and getting to know the com­munity.”

The centre focuses on health and wellbeing, learning and improving skills.

Ms Maffrett said: “I would like to introduce more training courses in the centre, covering food hygiene, boosting confidence, cover letters and help with finding work. It would be good to introduce more things for elderly people.”

A sensory area in the garden, soft play area for children and nature area are in the pipeline.

The centre rents out space to campaign group Sisters Uncut and supports Al-Anon group.

Hilldrop has a cinema group once a month, bringing together older and younger people. It will host a playscheme next week during half term.

Ms Maffrett added: “It’s a space where residents can have some fun and also share concerns. It’s about enabling people to have a voice and to shape change.”

The only community space in St George’s ward, the centre is funded by the council and Octopus Community Network.

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