Friends set up a community centre for dogs and humans in Hackney Wick
PUBLISHED: 11:45 18 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:20 23 November 2020
Two friends are setting up a community centre for dogs and humans living in and around Fish Island in Hackney Wick.
The idea for Barkney Wick came when Hackney Wick resident Jamie Swan got a puppy called Wolfgang.
She met Lucy McLaughlin, a local dog walker and animal rights champion, and they quickly became friends and wondered why there wasn’t dog day care service available in the area.
But instead of setting up a place just for dogs, they decided Hackney Wick needed a community centre with education and ethics at its heart for both dogs and humans.
Jamie told the Gazette: “Fast forward to today and we have our unit, the fit out has started and we have had donations of materials and services from so many local businesses and individuals. The project is funded by a government loan and crowdfunding and my own savings - so there is a lot on the line but we are so excited.”
The centre, which is located on the border of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, will provide dog day care, walks and training, alongside a plant-based cafe when it opens in early January 2021.
“But Barkney Wick will be far more than this,” said Jamie. “We want to positively engage with and further forge the community of Hackney Wick.”
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The two friends also plan to use locally-sourced recycled and upcycled materials to fit out the centre, as the ethos of the project is to be eco-friendly and low waste, with aims to be zero waste within five years of opening.
Jamie and Lucy are in talks with veterinary charity StreetVet about offering support, care advice and training to homeless people with dogs and using the centre to put on events for people in the neighbourhood.
“The response we have had from our local community so far has been incredible: so positive and heartwarming, especially so during the current pandemic.
“All the staff we have lined up to start with us are local and come to us from a variety of backgrounds - some changing career after losing their jobs - and all incredibly passionate about our project and the ethics that come with it.
“A local lady, Mareli Pelzer, has even taken on the task of preparing natural plant-based dog treats for our ‘Lick&Mix’ dog treats wall - and they are incredible.”
The layout of the unit was designed by Amy Rebecca Interiors, another local resident who lives near the soon-to-be community centre.
The Barkney Wick founders are crowdfunding with SpaceHive, here
Follow Barkney Wick’s progress on Instagram @barkneywick or click here
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