The Granville building was built in 1877 and was remodelled in 1908 to include the Main Hall. By 1927 there was a hive of activities run by the St Johns Wood Presbyterian Church such as ‘Mothers Meetings’, ‘Play Hours’ and training classes for teachers’. Then in 1957, the building was sold to what is now Brent Council. Since then, it has continued to be run as a community centre: from youth services and weddings to community events and services, the venue has played a role in the lives of many local people.
The South Kilburn Trust was founded in 2011 to help address issues facing some people locally, and to create new opportunities. South Kilburn’s population is talented, creative and driven. It is an area with a proud community spirit. However the areas does have higher than average levels of unemployment, poverty, and health concerns, as well as typically lower incomes for those who do work.
Local people told us here at the South Kilburn Trust, that one of the things most needed locally was a permanent venue, open to the community. The Trust therefore chose to focus a large part of its energy and resources into securing a permanent physical space, for this use. This including secure space to ensure the future success of South Kilburn Studios, which we have been running since 2014.
Our journey started with a conversation with Brent Council in May 2015. Three years later, with funding from the Mayor of London, and financial investment from both Brent Council and South Kilburn Trust, we have secured that physical venue for the local community, including continuing South Kilburn Studios. While we have only secured the space in its current state for the next five years, both the Trust and Brent Council have committed to a permanent venue on the site.