Dear Friends of The Community Bath House,
We share with you a bumper edition of news. November and December has been a busy month for us at HCCS.
Following the eviction of the squatters by Hackney council, HCCS was given one week to save materials from the building before all contents were cleared for landlord works. We greatly value the An Viet Foundation (AVF) archive which represents a unique history of Vietnamese refugees, and the thousands of books in the SE Asian library. Many of the documents from the AVF had been damaged during the squatters’ occupation. Despite this, we are thrilled to announce that the University of East London Refugees Archive is working with HCCS to preserve the archive and will be the permanent home of SE Asian library after preservation.
Meanwhile, the Council has now cleared all items from the building and obtained health and safety clearance. The initial assessment found that some of the landlord works requires planning permission because the building is in a Conservation Area. In the coming period, the Council will review and finalise the schedule of work. The works will be put out for tender, and a planning application will be made in January,for the works to start once the planning is granted. We are now able to access the building with contractors to plan and prepare for the community kitchen.
The Council’s landlord works only covers structural and compliance works. We still need to find funding for the interior renovation and equipping the building for community use. Following the success of the Crowdfund campaign for the kitchen, we can now demonstrate community support in our application for the London Mayor’s Good Growth Fund (GGF) for renovation on all other parts of the building. If the GGF is not successful, the community kitchen is the potential source of income generation for internal renovations. We have now submitted the Good Growth Fund application and await news of the shortlist.
We are very fortunate to work with the award winning firm Architecture 00, an organisation of Chinese heritage, with vast experience in designing large scale community buildings. They are looking to re-designed the interior to preserve the historical features of the building and simultaneously retain the building’s functionality for the community. It is very exciting to see our vision drawn up for the first time!
In recent months, we have developed a Potluck lunch project to bring together first and second generation entrepreneurs and foodies with expertise in East Asian cuisine to share culinary experiences. The group is regularly attended by about 25 people, sampling food from Malaysian, Singapore, Vietnamese, Chinese, Burmese, and local East/West fusion food. We are working with this group to develop the Community Kitchen programme.
We have also attended a number of workshops to discuss funding opportunities with other major funders, as well as private individuals. We are in discussion South East Asian community organisations and migrant communities in Hackney further afield in developing programme and activities in the building in the future.
At our centre, we are also looking towards Christmas and arranging events for all our members. We will be hosting our pot luck meet up on 7th December, and hosting our in house Christmas lunch on 12 December. We hope you will be able to attend one of our events! To find out more, please check us out on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hackneychinese