George Deacon tells the story of how a Tulse Hill community centre was revived
Lyndsey Fyffe stood on the steps of a community centre in Tulse Hill on its first anniversary and told the story of her journey to revive it to residents, students and representatives from the council.
After losing her sister in tragic circumstances, Lyndsey switched her focus from working as an occupational therapist to setting up a charity called Lavender Hope, named for her sister’s favourite flower.
Through the charity, she began supporting communities and those most in need. Soon Lyndsey took on management of Deronda Community Hall, renovated it and launched an ambitious programme of services for residents and the community.
The mural unveiling marked the first anniversary of the centre. It was created by Julie Norburn, director of Art4Space, and students from Morley college.
Cllr Maria Kay, Lambeth council cabinet member for housing and homelessness, and councillor candidates for the local St Martin’s ward, Olga Fitzroy and Saleha Jaffer, cut the ribbon and committed to be champions of the centre.
Lyndsey said: “I’m so proud of all that we’ve achieved getting here.
“I couldn’t have done it without help from John O’Reilly, my family, Kimberley, the two Lydias, Thandie, Jack and Leman.
“I just want to see the community thrive and want to work with everyone to see it happen.”
Deronda Estate is a mid-sized estate of 225 properties in Tulse Hill and the community hall is the heart of the estate.
For a long time, it was run by residents through the estate’s tenants and residents association, but always by volunteers.
When the last volunteers gave it up, the hall ceased to be used.
To protect and reinvigorate the hall, Lyndsey’s charity called Lavender Hope was invited to manage the building and run community services from it.
Olga Fitzroy, councillor candidate for St Martin’s, said: “Lyndsey has achieved an outstanding amount with Lavender Hope in a relatively short amount of time.
“If I’m elected it will be an absolute privilege to continue the council’s support for Lavender Hope and see how else we can help Lyndsey and her team and make sure the centre continues to thrive.”
Community activities run from the hall on different days include knit & natter, art sessions, DJ classes, parent and toddler groups, children’s baking, Zumba, and Bible groups.
Every afternoon, many children from the estate join after-school activities in the hall.
On Monday evenings at 6pm, a new Brownies group is starting at the hall.
There’s a reminiscence arts group at 1-3pm on Thursdays for anyone diagnosed with dementia.
The hall is available for event hire and has been used by church groups, for funerals and more joyous gatherings, although its residential setting means there are strict noise restrictions.
Cllr Kay said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to see this centre re-open.
“It’s often said our community centres are the beating heart of our estates.
“They’re a fantastic space for residents, young and old, to meet their neighbours and fulfil their passions.
“Lyndsey and the resident participations officers have done an amazing job and excelled in setting up this arrangement for the benefit of all our estate residents.”