Successful Hackney High Streets and Town Centres Fund bids revealed with Council set to award £500,000 to businesses as part of fair recovery work

Hackney - Shop Local PORTRAITS - Oct 2020 - 208

Creating the largest food-producing rooftop garden in London, celebrating Irish heritage and forming a Hackney Downs Business Network are among the projects awarded funding as part of an initiative to ensure a fair recovery for the borough’s businesses. 

Successful businesses bidding for the Hackney High Streets and Town Centres Fund will see their projects come to life this year after receiving a share of Hackney Council’s £494,000 grant for individual or partnership applications. 

The funding is aimed at supporting projects delivered by town centre and high street businesses that aim to increase high street footfall and encourage spending in Hackney. 

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Housing Regeneration, Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy

The Hackney High Streets and Town Centres Fund was designed to respond to the impact of the pandemic on local businesses and support ideas and initiatives to reopen and rebuild Hackney’s local economy. 

Following an open call for ideas over 187 high quality and competitive applications were received, all of which then went through an exhaustive assessment process. 41 small and micro businesses have been successful and will receive the investment to realise their projects.  

There is a wide range of projects that include the refurbishment of the Rio Cinema’s foyer and bar, creative workshops for people with disabilities at Revere the Residence in Stoke Newington and a three-month musical showcase at Hackney Social. The ambitious collection of projects bodes well for Hackney’s continued inclusive economic growth and our post pandemic economic recovery.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Housing Regeneration, Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy

Alive and Kicking were awarded funding and will be opening a ‘sports ball library’ from their Hoxton Street shop, allowing people to borrow a ball for free and use it on one of the 11 playgrounds and sports courts in the surrounding area.

Ben Sadler of Alive and Kicking said: “We're absolutely delighted to be part of a community-wide initiative to drive engagement on the High Street and we look forward to playing our part by increasing local community and visitor access to sport. In the run up to, as well as during and after the Women’s Euros, hosted in England, the public will be able to borrow unique ethical balls, designed by young people in Hoxton and produced by Alive and Kicking, for free. They will then be able to use them in the play areas and courts that surround Hoxton Street.”

Also coming to life will be a project from Lower Clapton café LELE’S to provide a safe space for women to come together and learn how to cook vegan food.

Valentina Fois of LELE'S said: “These vegan cooking classes are open to any resident in Hackney and our aim is to provide a safe collaborative space for people from all walks of life. We feel passionately about promoting mental health and wellbeing and hope this initiative will serve our local community well.”

While the Stoke Newington Business Association will be progressing their See you in Stokey campaign, a project bringing together businesses to create artwork, events, and a website to generate trade and aid community cohesion.

Heidi Early of the Stoke Newington Business Association said: “Our See You in Stokey campaign has already started to bring so many groups of people together in the community and the funding allows us to take this forward with a new website and events that we hope will benefit everyone in the area.”

Other successful projects include female-led café Brunswick East transforming an unused Gillett Street roof into a food-producing allotment, Mortar Studios creating a Hackney Downs Business Network and Stokey pub The Auld Shillelagh putting on a series of concerts featuring Irish musicians.  

A full list of the successful projects can be found on the Hackney Business Network website