Why do we need this?
Gillet Square was once the heart and soul of Dalston, with thriving black businesses and an uplifting sense of community spirit. However in recent months, especially during Covid-19, those businesses and therefore the surrounding families and communities have suffered deeply.
Dalston Roundtable was founded to create a safe space to uncover the stories of those business and communities and put programs, events and solutions in place to get Gillet Square back to what it once was: a place for people of all backgrounds to join the passionate local community to share, learn and love. The importance of this is heightened by the understanding and desire to help of local residents on the Black Lives Matter movement. Our local black community are feeling the hardships of gentrification, Covid-19 and lack of council support. They need you. We need you.
Who are we?
The Dalston Roundtable project is being spearheaded by Fatou who, as local mother with a passion for community cohesion, runs Holistic Support, a social enterprise committed to promoting parents’ well-being and inspiring them to achieve their professional goals.
Fatou has created a volunteer group with locals and supporters of the Hackney Downs BLM community circles to work on this project.
What has been done already?
The first stage of the project was to create a petition to remove the temporary outdoor urinals. The addition of the urinals meant that families, especially with young children, no longer wanted to use the square. This in turn has had a devastating impact on the businesses in the square. Due to the hard work of the team Fatou has formed, the urinals are now being removed at the end of September.
The next, ongoing activity is to host the roundtables with all local businesses and key community members to understand what problems they are facing, why there are there, and what kind of solutions, activities and events in the space could help bring the community together to tackle this head on.
Historically black businesses have been pushed out of Dalston, and this project will look to reclaim this important space in the heart of Hackney.
What do we need funding for?
The ground work has been done, and key actions set out. Now we need the funding to see these programs and solutions through.
Specifically, this fundraiser is to fund a calendar of events and activities for local families as well as to support members of the African and Caribbean community who are the most affected. We will test run businesses ideas, and create provide a networking space for businesses to collaborate and build a stronger sense of togetherness. We want to subsidise discounts for underserved community members to shop at the local businesses that are suffering.
Additionally to make the space appealing and welcoming to all, we will enhance the natural beauty of the space and add plants and flowers. This will be in partnership with local gardeners who will share their knowledge and skills with the community to grow food.
Ongoing maintenance will be essential to keep the space safe and pleasant for those using it, which will also need to be funded.
What do we hope to achieve?
- Creation of a space that is useful and valuable for the community
- A calendar of activities to bring the community together & provide skills to the underserved communities nearby
- Generate more footfall and engagement with the surrounding black-owned businesses, and boost their sales
- Greater connection in the community
- Local community empowered to run projects