Up until now I have been popping up quite randomly as one-off instances, with varying levels of success. The best pop-ups seem to happen when working in partnership with other organisation and spaces, one of my favourite being the FRP Tool Library's 2nd Birthday. Random ones, particularly on my own can be very hit and miss.
I've been thinking for a while, what would happen if I went to the same place once a month for 6 months? Ideally, a space with a contemplative vibe, comfy seating and free of the overbearing consumerist pressure to buy something. Those kind of spaces are far too few in this late capitalist-hell-scene we find ourselves but thank goodness for LIBRARIES. Most notably, the stunning Lea Bridge Library Community Living Room. The recently constructed timber extension to the rear of the Grade II listed Edwardian library on Lea Bridge Rd, designed by Studio Weave and constructed using wood from London parks (fallen, trimmed etc), is so gorgeous it's even in The Guardian, and they don't seem to have a problem with me rolling my old cargo bike inside onto their shiny new floors.
With such incredibly affordable hiring rates, the space is used for a broad range of beautiful community activities, run by community members. For my first, test pop-up I was sharing with Carrom gamers and Warhammer enthusiasts. But wait, THERE'S MORE. The cafe offers a 10% discount to holders of a WF library card, making it probably the cheapest decent oat milk latté you'll find in NE London (other milks available on request).
I'm in the process of developing a program, where hubRen shares the space on Sunday with a local organisation or two, to highlight the different kinds of work already happening in the borough. The first of these will be a Transition themed afternoon, with representatives of the different Transition groups in Waltham Forest available to talk about what they do and share inspiring stories of Transition from around the world.
A horticultural themed afternoon is also in the works, there is SO much great work with food growing and garden space activation happening!
If you are part of any Waltham Forest based group that has healthy, equitable, sustainable and thriving futures as part of your vision and would be interested in sharing the space in a fun way, don't be shy, say hi.
A recent development in our local response to the changing climate is the publication of the Waltham Forest Climate Action Plan, developed in partnership with a wide range of WF stakeholder and VCS groups, including The Hornbeam (where I started working in September). The plan has four major strands -
Energy Efficient Buildings: that ensure all residents can live comfortably and affordably
A Place for People not Cars: where residents can travel affordably, safely and easily using active travel, like walking and cycling, and sustainable mass transport, like bus and rail.
Consuming Less, Recycling More: where we produce less waste, use less plastic, and meet our needs in new collaborative ways through sharing, reusing and repairing.
A Greener, More Resilient Borough: that promotes nature, health and wellbeing and increases the resilience of communities to future heatwaves and floods.
Since the beginnings of hubRen I have been wanting to include information about our local government response, so the publication of the plan is very welcome and I'm happy to include its materials as part of the bike hub resources.
Hope to see you at the Lea Bridge Library on the third Sunday of the month, 2-4pm.