Mayor and Speaker of Hackney honour volunteers from upcycling groups
- Credit: Orla Gill
Dedicated volunteers from Hackney community re-use hub The Loop and craft club Silver Linings were honoured by the Mayor and Speaker of Hackney on Thursday.
Volunteers gathered at The Pembury Loop on Tolsford Road to share their experiences and proudly display the restored furniture and handcrafted pieces they've worked on for weeks.
Mayor Phillip Glanville said the work done by the volunteers is an 'incredibly powerful example of how community organisations and big bodies like Peabody and Hackney Council can make something happen."
As council funding for the projects nears its end, he says he'll work to 'find more resources for projects like this.'
The Mayor spoke about Hackney's history as a big manufacturing centre where furniture used to be made and about Hackney itself having been 'upcycled' and the challenges that brings.
"There's a real sense and memory of people that were involved in manufacturing, and you're a living embodiment of that here.
I would imagine that some of the pieces that have been through here were originally made here and have been given new life," said the Mayor.
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He continued: "How do you connect the people who have have just moved here, attracted to that 'upcycled' version of Hackney - with the people that have been here the whole time and actually built the place that they've moved to?"
Both projects,he says, bridge many divides and were set up by the charity Groundwork London.
The Loop was set up with the Peabody housing association on Pembury Estate to collect, restore, repair and sell pre-loved furniture. It also offers training and employment opportunities alongside volunteering.
Loop volunteer Carlos Fernandez told the Gazette: "The idea is to make it affordable for the people in the community and to recycle so things don't go to waste. [Furniture] is donated or we collect it off the street,"
Loop volunteer Adam Tasarz said he enjoys giving furniture a second life and told the Gazette: "The items here have soul you can feel it."
Some, like Silver linings volunteer Remo Mongiat joined the over-50s craft for cause group due to retirement, having too much time on his hands he wanted to 'find something useful to do.'
He's used the skills he's learned to make bags for his grandchildren and says the group gives people a chance to be creative, talk about things, share ideas and help each other.
Silver linings donates all the crafts they make and this year they'll be giving them away to North London Action for Homeless and the Mother and Baby Mental Health Unit at Homerton Hospital.
The London Borough of Hackney has been partly funding Groundwork London's 'The Loop' on Pembury Estate through the Hackney Main Grant scheme for two years but that funding is nearing its end.
The Mayor says the development of an Ageing Well strategy and an Inclusive Economy Strategy will have 'projects like this at it's heart.'
"The Loop is a beacon of what this borough should be and it's just an absolute honour and privilege to have been shown around today, and to have heard all of your testimonies," said the Mayor.