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Roundhouse faces funding gap revamp nears completion

New community centre project ‘is not in jeopardy’

13 April, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Jeremy Corbyn visited the Roundhouse last year

A NEW community centre in Highbury is stepping up its fundraising campaign after facing a cash shortfall for the final stages of its major redevelopment project.

Building work funded by the Lottery, the Town Hall and the community began on the new Highbury Roundhouse last March and is nearing competition.

But the final phase of fitting out the centre’s new home requires extra cash after part of its funding fell through in November.

Tony Miller, secretary at the Highbury Roundhouse Association (HRA), said the expected opening date is likely to be delayed from May to the end of summer.

Mr Miller said: “The project is not in jeopardy and the building is nearly completed. The situation at the moment is we have to install certain things before we can open the building, but we do not have to install everything. It’s about working out what’s essential.”

He added: “We are confident we will get the money. The more money we can raise, the more effective the building can be.”

When finished, the Ronalds Road site, which is expected to cost about £2.9million in total, will bring all of its services back under one roof.

The Highbury Roundhouse has served the area for more than 40 years but in 2010 the old building, a former Victorian bottleworks, was deemed to be unsafe by Islington Council, who planned to knock it down and sell it to housing developers.

But after a campaign from residents and service users, the council allowed the association to build the new centre on the same site, as long as they were able to raise the majority of the funds independently.

The authority did contribute to the funding pot last year, after councillors voted through a grant of £1.1m.

The Lottery donated about £1m and the community also helped to raise additional sums

When complete, it will also be home to the services currently provided at Sotheby Mews, which will be knocked down by the council to make way for homes.

Campaigners are still fighting against the closure of the day centre, which has been delayed until February next year.

Mr Miller would not reveal how much extra funding was needed for the fit-out at Highbury Roundhouse, because he said the figure fluctuates as donations come in, but said it was “substantial”.

“We have considerable support from our local neighbourhood and people who use the facilities of the Roundhouse,” he added.

“We haven’t looked to the council for any further help. They have been very helpful for the first construction stage.

“You walk into the building now and it looks like it just needs a lick of paint.

“It’s tremendous, it’s been absolutely extraordinary watching it happen.”

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