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Member Spotlight: Hackney Bridge

By Veronica Asenso Afriyie
07.07.2021


We love to showcase some of the exciting and innovative things our members are doing. This time, we’re shining a spotlight on Hackney Bridge – a new canal-side destination in Hackney Wick.

We spoke with Engagement & Partnerships Manager, Mason Vincent about what we can expect from Hackney Bridge post-lockdown, his favourite thing about Hackney Wick and how Echo members can get involved.


Hi Mason,

So, what is Hackney Bridge? 

Hackney Bridge is a canal-side public destination in Hackney Wick that offers lasting opportunities to small businesses and a legacy for local people. We are a platform for local enterprises and entrepreneurs to thrive.

 

The project is made up of workspaces for an array of practitioners and professionals who work in sectors including photography, music, carpentry, ceramics, film production and more. Our public spaces are evolving and include retail, a diverse programme of events, markets and a multitude of food & drink options. We are also installing a large community garden for the public to enjoy in the near future.

What’s your role in the company?

I am the Engagement and Partnerships Manager. A big part of my role is to understand local needs and drive forward our community commitments whilst championing collaboration across the four growth boroughs that we serve.

Our community commitments include volunteering 3500 hours of our time towards community investment; providing  25% of our event space to local groups for free and offering 10% of our workspaces at discounted rental rates through our supported space scheme.

I also oversee our Steering Group that is made up of 10 incredible local community representatives  who help to steer our project and inform best practices across our site. This group provides a local sounding board and is essential in connecting us and signposting opportunities to maximise social outcomes in the area.

Photography by Alex Bartsh

How’s it been opening the business during the pandemic? 

Whilst it wasn’t the grand opening we had envisioned, it has still been a fantastic opportunity to see the project come to fruition, especially after 4 years of community consultation, design and build!

We have been able to welcome our first 34 Member businesses, some of whom have already had incredible growth stories. Due to restrictions, our public spaces have taken a little longer than expected to fully open but have already given us an insight into how incredible the site will be once everything is fully activated. We have been in awe of the amount of support and energy from visitors enjoying our Summer pop up.

What are you most excited about as the world starts to open up post-lockdown? 

Over the coming year as we settle in, we are looking forward to implementing an eclectic programme of events – from hosting local community groups, to running creative business workshops, Member-led events, open markets, music events, seasonal festivities and much, much more (COVID-19 permitting).

What’s your favourite thing about the Hackney Wick area where you’re based? 

The people. I have been very lucky to connect with a diverse range of people, organisations and initiatives across the HWFI area, some of whom are now our members! The interesting conversations and ideas for collaboration have us really excited to see what happens on our site in the future.

Photography by Harry Winteringham

How can the Echo community get involved with things going on at Hackney Bridge? 

We currently have a few units still available at Hackney Bridge. We have a restaurant, bar, and event space and have flexible Memberships available at our co-working space. If you are interested in learning more you can express your interest by emailing me at mason@makeshift.org. Echo members can also get involved in using our space for their commercial or community-based events, signpost volunteer opportunities in the area and utilise some of the amazing local talent we have within our community.

Are there any exciting events, workshops or opportunities coming up at Hackney Bridge? 

We have officially welcomed A New Direction on-site who has been appointed as the operator for the Good Growth Hub. The hub will offer a range of high-quality career programmes for local young people – including London Living Wage-paid internships, support for freelancers, apprenticeships, careers advice and coaching. More information on their activity can be found on their website.

 

We are very excited that the Mobile Garden will also be coming to Hackney Bridge and will have a strong focus on growing all things edible, so if you are a fledgling foodie or just want to get your hands dirty, this will be the place for you! There will be many ways to get involved in the garden including gardening and taking part in various workshops and training programmes.

The garden will also offer opportunities for new projects and initiatives to use the space to develop or set up new projects or workshops.

Feel free to register your interest in volunteering or using the space.

Where can people find you online for more information? 

You can stay up to date with all things Hackney Bridge through our website, Instagram and Facebook. Check out our current Members and support local enterprises where you can!