Community Centre Lease Appeal

The Crunch

Primrose Hill Community Association is a busy, solvent and viable non-government organisation, and can with confidence meet current expenditure through its activities and lettings. But it needs its home.

This appeal seeks to give the security of that home for the next 25 years. It will then be down to the next generation to decide whether it continues to value community activities. Residents of Primrose Hill take a pride and a pleasure in living here; they relish a neighbourly atmosphere which brings people together and gives city living a human dimension. A community centre is at the heart of that. Between us we can surely find the will and the money to retain it

The History

A factory at 44 Fitzroy Road made Hopkinson’s pianos until 1963 and by the mid-70’s the site was virtually derelict. Camden Council bought it for conversion into council flats, a victory for a campaign by local residents opposed to demolition. The Council offered to renovate the old boiler house, adjacent to the factory, if a group of local volunteers emerged to organise community activities there. In 1978 the Primrose Hill Community Association (PHCA) was formed, and in 1980 it moved into the Centre. Since then the Centre has been in daily use, providing space at all times of the day and evening, for educational, children’s and leisure activities, and for private hire.

The Financing

For most of these forty years, Camden has given a grant to PHCA, recognising that its activities were of benefit to local residents and were managed more appropriately, and more cheaply, than by the Council. The age of austerity, however, and the dramatic reduction in funding of local government by central government, has meant that not only has all financial support been withdrawn, but instead Camden is now imposing a rent for the community’s use of the Centre building. This year’s rent is £22,000, anticipated to rise to over £40,000 per annum following a revaluation in five years.

The Opportunity

An offer has been made by Camden Council for the Community Association to buy out a 25 year lease on this Centre building in Hopkinson’s Place for £250,000. Negotiations have been underway for some time to ensure repairs to the mainframe of the building are undertaken before the lease is transferred, and to protect PHCA in 25 years time from any repair liabilities it might be unable to meet.

The Campaign

From September 1st, 2018, the PHCA Trustees are launching a campaign to raise £250,000 to purchase this long lease and are calling upon all residents who value a space for community activities to contribute. The Centre is a space for meetings and classes, for child care and development, for social events for young and old, for music-making, for parties, birthdays and wakes, office space to manage the halls, and to manage PHCA initiatives elsewhere such as the Lunch Club, the Summer Fair, the Library, and the On The Hill magazine; space for voting, space for campaigning, and space for information-giving and help to all callers. The Centre is the platform for doing together as a community what we cannot do alone. In an average day, hundreds of Primrose Hill feet, from the youngest to the oldest, pass through its doors.

Get in Touch

The group of local residents leading on this appeal is Maureen Betts, Dick Bird, Monica Crooks, Mick Hudspeth, Doro Marden, Colin St Johnston, and Pam White.

If you have a question, want to help, or would simply like to make contact, ring 020 7586 8327, or e-mail

Download the PHCA Community Centre Fundraising Pamphlet

The Small Print

  • PHCA is a registered charity (No 298215).
  • The “Trustees” are the 13 local residents elected as the Management Committee at the AGM
    on 5/10/17.
  • Recent PHCA audited accounts are available on the website
  • Copies of the proposed lease are available to read in the Community Centre.
  • Gift Aid can be reclaimed by charities from donors who are taxpayers. The basic rate of 20%
    tax can be reclaimed on the gross amount of a donation before tax was deducted, so a gift of
    £100 is worth £125 to PHCA.
  • Higher rate tax payers can reclaim the difference between what they have paid in tax and the
    basic rate of 20% tax, on the gross value of their donation.
  •  Annual donations by standing order are of course welcome but the Appeal will only benefit
    from Year 1 contributions.
  • The levels of all individual contributions will be kept completely confidential.
  •  Unless they request otherwise the names of all donors will be recognised on a wall in the Centre, reminding future residents of their inheritance from us.
  • The progress of the Appeal towards the target of £250,000 will be reported in On The Hill.
  •  In the event that fundraising exceeded the target, any surplus would be ring-fenced for
    improving the facilities and fabric of the Centre.

Last Updated on 6th March 2019 by Jason