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Welcome to the Clapton Improvement Society website

For everyone who lives, works or is interested in London E5

Who We Are

Clapton, London E5, houses some of the most disadvantaged people in Britain. But it’s a vibrant community with a strong spirit and a host of active groups committed to changing things for the better. Amongst many others, the Pedro Club caters for young people on the Clapton Park Estate, Chat’s Palace runs a host of arts activities, the Chatsworth Road Traders and Residents Association has revived the historic street market, the Millfields Users Group has planted a community orchard and Core Arts work with people with mental health problems.

Other community activities are hampered by lack of resources. Local people want to save the Clapton cinema, improve local parks and re-open public toilets. They want jobs and better opportunities for poor residents.

The Clapton Improvement Society seeks the improvement of the environment, education and wellbeing for the benefit of the public in Clapton and surrounding areas. It has been set up by local residents with skills and energy to get things done.

Financed by members’ subscriptions, donations and events, the Society provides opportunities for local entrepreneurship and reaches out to less advantaged communities to give them an affordable chance.

We regularly maintain the wildflower meadows at Homerton Station planted by local volunteers.

We organised food safety training, which helped 75 local people get jobs.

– Bring derelict land and buildings back into use
– Create educational opportunities for disadvantaged people
– Provide cultural and creative activities
– Build community assets

For more about the society, who we are and how to join – click here.

We need volunteers, and of course, money, so please donate whatever you can.


All the members of the Clapton Improvement Society live locally, and we have come together simply to get things done in our area.

Jon Aldenton, Mary Doyle, Joy Budhan, James Cherkoff, Ciaran Kelly, Imani Backes, Gokan Resa and Lorenzo Lumiere are the founder members. More than 150 others have joined to date.

Membership of the Society is open to all who share its objectives and pay £1 for a share. It’s a community benefit society registering as an Industrial and Provident Society and Charity under the relevant legislation (see our rules).

If you would like to join, please just email us your details, or call Jon on 07970 265 966.

We want to know what you think need needs improved, so tell us what you want to do, and we’ll try to help.

  • • Head over to our Q&A page
  • • or email us at claptonimprovementsociety@gmail.com
  • • or call Jon on 07970 265 966.

Brooksby's Walk Toilets

The public toilets on Brooksby’s Walk (at the start of Chatsworth Road) had lain empty for close to three decades.

In 2011 residents re-opened these toilets. After a long campaign and formation of the Clapton Improvement Society, they were granted a short term lease in 2013, with the promise of a 100 year peppercorn lease to follow.

The Society raised funds from the Lottery and loans from members to renovate the toilets and convert the gents to a café/restaurant to pay for their maintenance. Altogether more than £40,000 has been invested. Clapton has Britain’s only luxury sustainable solar powered free public toilets as a result.

But from the beginning, the Council has made life difficult for the volunteers. Officials raised a series of petty complaints about the works. Building inspectors demanded an expensive sprinkler system and then didn’t issue the certificate after completion of the works. A local councillor raised unverified complaints about the café and persuaded the licensing committee to refuse an extension of hours which had been granted planning permission after an appeal to the independent planning inspectorate.

Now the Council’s estates department is seeking to terminate the community’s ownership on wholly spurious grounds (including not having the Building completion certificate) and let the premises to commercial operators.

Brooksby’s Walk


Photography by Jørn Tomter

Daubeney Road Garages

Hackney Council has proposed a development of eleven houses on the site of the community garden and garages at the North end of Daubeney Road.

Housing is needed in Hackney. But it is clear that the proposed development is not suitable for a number of reasons.

The Council has left the garages site on Daubeney Road derelict for over 20 years.

In 2013 local people, through the Neighbourhood Plan, came up with a scheme to convert the garages to affordable workspaces renting at £30 a week. Local residents built a beautiful community garden under the Mayor of London’s Pocket Park programme, with grow tubs, beehives and a heritage mural.


But now the Council has ignored local views and plan to build 11 substandard houses, with tiny gardens and loads of wasted circulation space, on the site.

Other, better and bigger sites for housing exist in the area. No other sites are as suitable for affordable workspace.

The Clapton Improvement Society and Daubeney Fields Forever, the park user group that created and manages the garden, are working together to stop the housing and create the site into a hub of community activity. Please sign the petition here. Get in touch with Ben via mail[at]benmetz.org if you want to get involved.

grow tubs

Growing tubs at Daubeney Road Garages

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