Community Hub Development

Upper Norwood Library Hub

Ownership: Private Company Limited by Guarantee

Location: Upper Norwood Library Hub, Westow Hill, London, SE19 1TQ

Contact information: – 020 8670 4321




Key Features

Events & Room Hire

  • Purpose-refurbished rooms dedicated to room hire and events 7 days a week.
  • Grant funded sound & lighting equipment for events and hire.

Library of Things

  • Low-cost borrowing of tools and other items, promoting the circular economy
  • Income generated from partnership with LoT.
  • Attracts a new group of users to the library.


Advice & Support

  • Outreach services including fuel poverty advice, help for households and holiday activities for children.
  • Digital Inclusion support and ESOL courses, free to the community.

Café & Licenced Premises

  • Community café with pop-ups from local businesses, offering low-cost food and refreshments.
  • UNLH is a licenced premises allowing them to run bar(s) at events and for private hires.


of income generated through trading & charitable activities in 2021-22.

grants received to support charitable work and to generate income through programmes and services.

consumers supported with fuel poverty advice and guidance.

one-off events held over the past 3 years.



Developing the asset and services may require investment, either through seed funding, reserves, crowdfunding or grants.

The SPACE was refurbished in 2016/17 following negotiation and provision by Lambeth & Croydon councils. EQUIPMENT, has been funded over the years by a number of grants such as Arts Council England, National Lottery & Power to Change, to develop capacity to generate income from the building. This includes:

  • Sound & lighting equipment (events, private hires, live streaming & recording)
  • Staging & furniture (performances, parties and talks)
  • Hospitality & café equipment (coffee machine, meeting apparatus)
  • Bicycles (cycle borrowing scheme & community outreach projects)

The Library of Things was initially crowdfunded, with the community raising nearly £10K (match funded by the Mayor of London) to purchase ‘Things’ and storage lockers. 

Licencing & Requirements

Certain activities & services may require licences, training and/or designated leads in order for them to meet national and local standards and requirements.

UNLH holds a PREMISES LICENCE, allowing them to sell alcohol at events and for private hires. This provides a valuable income stream, but also makes free events & talks financially viable.

A premises licence requires a personal licence holder and a designated premises supervisor to ensure that all local authority licencing conditions are met.

The organisation also maintains a FOOD HYGIENE RATING which is administered by the local authority, enabling them to handle, prepare and sell food safely. UNLH use this to run a cafe, sell food at events and provide lunches during HAF funded children’s camps. Appropriate staff and volunteers receive FOOD HYGIENE & SAFETY training. 

The People

UNLH’s model incorporates PAID STAFF with support from VOLUNTEERS.

This includes a blend of core staff and regular volunteers for day-to-day activities, strategic planning, oversight and development of activities, events & services, as well as ad-hoc events volunteers and freelance staff for specific activities. 

The charity are actively investigating & implementing different ways of generating income through music. arts, cultural & social events, funding applications, organising activities and letting space which will enable it to continue both housing the provision of the library service and provide free or subsidised cost services and activities which benefit the local community.

Key Outcomes


  • Exposure & awareness
  • Local business opportunities


  • Minimised reliance on 1 income stream (incl. local authority support)
  • Surplus revenue to reinvest in community engagement

Community Benefit

  • Free advice, support and guidance
  • Subsidised events & actvities

Future Funding

  • Track record and supporting evidence for grant applications
  • Leveraging small & local grants to support existing activities