The Mill does things slightly differently. We don’t run services or decide what goes on here. We provide the space and the resources – and all our groups, events and activities are brought to us by local people who want to make something happen in Walthamstow.
The birth of The Mill
The Mill opened its doors to the public in September 2011. The old St James Street library building had lain derelict for almost three years – but the local residents association won a competition for a grant from Nesta’s Neighbourhood Challenge to bring it back to life for all the community. It took months of hard work by designers and volunteers to get The Mill ready and open for local people to bring their ideas, their skills, and their enthusiasm. But we did it!
Our first twelve months – the Year of the Rhino
The Mill enjoyed an amazing first year. The wonderful Recycled Teenagers group of older residents made us their home. The Asian Women’s Group came to The Mill and grew from strength to strength. We hosted homework clubs and young people’s theatre, and children flocked to craft workshops. As part of the Neighbourhood Challenge we supported many local groups with seed funding, room hire and support to help them grow. This is the story of that first year:
The stories The numbers
- We’ll publish our accounts and an Annual Report every year, and you can find more information about us on our Charity Commission
- Run for and by the people of Walthamstow – How The Mill began
The Mill was established after a passionate community campaign to keep the St James Street Library open. When it became clear that this would not be possible, the local residents association BlackHorse Action Group won funding through the Neighbourhood Challenge, a programme to support community-led innovation using funds from NESTA, and working with the Big Lottery Fund.
The Neighbourhood Challenge aimed to show how community organisations – when equipped with the right skills, support and resources– can galvanise local people to work together and create innovative responses to local priorities.