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A Dalston community garden needs to raise £100,000 to survive the year ahead

PUBLISHED: 15:56 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:56 15 July 2020

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden is fundraising to stay open and free for all. Picture: Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden is fundraising to stay open and free for all. Picture: Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

A Dalston community garden just launched a fundraiser to reopen its doors and it has already raised almost £60,000.

The garden has already raised more than �58,000 since it launched about two weeks ago. Picture: Dalston Eastern Curve GardenThe garden has already raised more than �58,000 since it launched about two weeks ago. Picture: Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

The Covid-19 crisis had a “huge impact” on Dalston’s Eastern Curve Garden after it had to close during it’s “busiest period” in March.

Financial losses led to its staff and volunteers launching a crowdfunding campaign to keep one of the only green spaces in the area open and free to the thousands of people who visit annually.

Curve Garden co-director Marie Murray said: “It’s the [Curve Garden’s] 10th birthday and everything has been brought full circle because the garden grew out of a campaign to get more green space in Dalston.

“There’s little or no green spaces [In Dalston] and very few people have their own front garden. It’s a very busy built up part of Hackney.

Money raised will go to building works on the urban garden's entrace, to make up for a loss of profits in its busiest season and to help it survive the year. Picture: Dalston Eastern Curve GardenMoney raised will go to building works on the urban garden's entrace, to make up for a loss of profits in its busiest season and to help it survive the year. Picture: Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

“We fought really hard over the last ten years to establish the garden, fought hard to keep it and now Hackney people are coming together again to make sure that the garden survives.

“Every storm we’ve weathered, it’s always been because people really value it, and they are prepared to stand up and fight for it.”

READ MORE: Hackney Council urged to ‘protect Eastern Curve Garden’ in Dalston Conversation consultation

Marie has been overwhelmed by the support from residents and even people who have left the borough and moved away.

Thousands of people have donated to Dalston Eastern Curve Garden's fundraiser. Picture: Dalston Eastern Curve GardenThousands of people have donated to Dalston Eastern Curve Garden's fundraiser. Picture: Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

She told the Gazette: “We are immensely grateful to everybody who has made a donation especially since we know how tough it is for a lot of people at the moment.”

The garden “urgently” needs £100,000 before it can reopen to pay for extensive building works on its “narrow” entrance, so visitors can safely adhere to social distancing guidelines.

The money would also help cover the loss of two thirds of the garden’s annual income so far this year.

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Takings from summer sales of food and drink sold at its on-site café enable the Curve Garden to stay open all year round and the income also pays for free inclusive workshops, education programmes and community events like the “much-loved” Annual Pumpkin Lantern Festival.

READ MORE: “Record-breaking in every way’: Over 1,200 pumpkins carved for Dalston Eastern Curve Garden’s 2019 Lantern Festival

The garden makes about 80 per cent of its entire income in the period between April and September every year.

Donations will also help the Dalston green space survive the year ahead as it braces for lower income as a result of social distancing measures and reduced capacity.

Marie and her garden team know capacity will be reduced but they will not be making people book to visit as some restaurants and pubs are doing.

“That’s just not how we as a community garden would ever operate,” she said.

Instead, the garden will hire more staff to monitor and regulate the number of visitors entering.

Marie also plans to set aside times during the day to cater for community organisations and groups whose members have been shielding or isolating for months during lockdown and, who now need a safe place to meet, relax and reconnect with other people.

“It broke our hearts that the garden couldn’t be open to the public especially in the spring months in April and May because it looked so beautiful. It’s almost like after 10 years it decided to put on its best spring show.

“So, we’re really looking forward to having people back here again enjoying the plants and nature.”

READ MORE: Dalston Eastern Curve Garden takes in cancelled show plants to help east London bees

Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic Marie said: “It’s an opportunity to revisit, remake and reinvent. To start things again and get back to our roots when we started the garden 10 years ago.”

To donate to Dalston Eastern Curve Garden’s fundraiser click here

For more information about Dalston Eastern Curve Garden visit www.dalstongarden.org


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