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Charitable Status and London’s only Wildflower Station

Late last year, we incorporated the Friends of Homerton Station charity into the Society’s activities. They created wildflower meadows on the embankments of Homerton Station.

We now maintain them by employing Chiara to clear the litter and maintain the meadows every month. We’re negotiating with Railtrack to install a couple of signs.

We’ve changed the name of the charity to Clapton Improvement Trust and broadened it’s objects to reflect our own. So now we have a status that reflects our charitable aims.

Winter draws on….

Sorry for not updating more regularly, but we’ve been really busy doing stuff all year.

As you will know, Nana’s unhappily went out of business last Christmas.

We advertised the opportunity to run the premises for us and after assessments and interviews appointed the team of five friends who are now running Brooksby’s Walk as a bar/restaurant. They got off to a flying start in late June and have had a series of rave reviews- and have been busy ever since.

Now, in order to keep everything running well over the winter, we plan to construct a winter garden over the roof terrace, relocate the solar panels on its roof and create a new terrace where the solar panels are. We sought proposals from five teams and have appointed a local team, with a workshop less than a mile from the toilets, to build the scheme.

It will cost £42,000, which will be funded by loans from the members and the operator and repaid from the premises’ takings. It means that in a couple of years’ time, we’ll be generating about £2500 a month for our community activities.

Meanwhile, we are providing Hackney’s only free public toilets.

Workspace for Clapton Park- Sun Studios!

The Society is working with the Council on plans to convert the former Daubeney Road  garages to small workspace units with solar panels on the roof, alongside some new bigger units that could fit on the site.

The plan is to offer local people the chance to set up a business in a 100sq ft unit for £30pw.  The site could house around 35 workspaces and be a hub of solar powered economic activity.

Send an email to claptonimprovementsociety@gmail.com if you’re interested.

Now for hydro power!

With the restored toilets now open daily and our sub-tenants Nana’s and The Convenience building up a solid business for their friendly cafe/bar/restaurant, we’re acting on the next improvement. The solar panels on the roof are working really well, despite all the rain.

We plan to install and operate a hydroelectric turbine using the water that flows over the Lea Bridge weir. We’ve had a feasibility study completed and once we’ve got agreement from Thames Water to a peppercorn lease, we’ll be fundraising the entire £320,000 cost from Clapton residents so that we can own our own reliable, renewable power station.

There are about 90,000 people living in Clapton- so it’s about £3.55 each!

The World’s first eco-friendly luxury unisex public toilets are open!

After months of work by local trades people and volunteers, we’re there. The hand drier has been restored, the kitchen and bar fitted out, the roof terrace created and the solar panels installed by an all woman team from E5. The toilets in the former ladies now  have illuminated mirrors, disabled and baby changing facilities, and will arefree to use. Our sub-tenant will look after them. The cafe/bar/restaurant is run by local community enterprise Nana’s, serving comfort food during the day and handing over to upcoming chefs on three month residencies in the evenings. They have their own website theconvenience.co.uk  We’ve financed the cost through our own fundraising, loans from members, and a small lottery grant. So, if you haven’t been yet, what are you waiting for?

Friday Night is Music Night

Friday Night is Music Night
The newest licensed venue on Chatsworth Road opens tonight with the latest meeting of the Clapton Music Club. Featuring live music from Autopilot and the customary eclectic collection of recorded sounds, we kick off at 7.30pm at 41b Chatsworth Road in the former East European Social Club, just renovated.

Admission is £5 (+ £1 membership) and 10% of all takings will go to CIS to help with the Convenience restoration.

Create a Garden
Hackney Council is abandoning its recycling boxes – but they do make excellent planters. We need boxes, six scaffold boards, rubble and soil to create a pavement garden to brighten the street. Please bring stuff along to Chatsworth Road toilets this Sunday, 24th February.

Take a Stall in the Gents
Beverly’s vintage clothes and re-imagined decoupage suitcases (each one is unique) were a hit last week – but there’s room for more! If you want a stall contact Jon on 07970 265966.

Renovation Under Way
Last week we cleared the roof of debris, plants, estate agents signs and doggy bags and made it waterproof. All help is welcome – next we’re preparing for decoration. Emma Jane has been de-rusting the futuristic handdrier, prior to powder coating.


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www.claptonimprovementsociety.org

Catchup: Chatsworth Road Toilets Back in Community Hands

Vintage Shop & Restoration @ChatsworthRoad Toilets

With the Chatsworth Road toilets back under community control, we used last weekend to clear the rubbish that squatters had left behind. Hackney Council organised a special free collection, though much was recycled, with local entrepreneurs even carting away the metal sheets and abandoned washing machine.
  • From this Sunday (17th Feb), Olivia’s Closet will take up residence in the Gents, selling vintage clothing. Run by local resident Beverly-Ann, Olivia’s Closet will be open from 10am to 5pm, every day of the week and weekends .
  • Also this Sunday, we will be on site to continue restoration work in the Ladies. Please come along to lend a hand in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty – any time between 10am and 5pm.

 

Chatsworth Road Toilets Back in Community Hands

Great News!

Clapton Improvement Society has obtained a council lease for the old toilets on Chatsworth Road (next to Sol’s bike shop).

We’ve got the keys and the plan now is to push ahead and bring the building back to life, converting the former ‘Ladies’ into a luxury mixed public toilet, with the ‘Gents’ transformed into a cafe/bar/gallery.

We need HELP with the works. So, please come along this weekend and lets get started. We’ll be there Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th Feb between 10am and 5pm – even if you can only spare an hour or two, please come along…. No special skills needed, though if you’re in the building trade we especially want to hear from you.

Here’s to plenty more Events in the Gents!

Training for Everyone

Pre-booking essential

email claptonimprovementsociety@gmail.com

Courses @ The Levy Centre

18-24 Lower Clapton Road E5 0PD

10am- 4pm

Free to benefit claimants (proof required)

£25 for Hackney residents

£50 otherwise

Food Hygiene

  • Thursday 26th April

Essential if you want to work with food, this course offers a Level 2 certificate and is run by Fatima, a first class trainer.

Using Social Media for your Business

  • Thursday 3rd May

Top marketing expert James Cherkoff will show you how to get the best out of Facebook, Twitter and other stuff.

Running a market stall

  • Thursday 10th May

Jane MacIntyre of Hackney Homemade guides you through the process from buying stock to getting a licence.

February News

Membership going formal

In taking the lease on the toilets and seeking to get lottery funds, we have to formally register as an Industrial and Provident Society. So it means we have to get more formal about membership. The minimum cost is to buy a £1 share – which does not entitle you to dividends if we get rich.

The cost of registering is £850 and of applying for planning permission is £335. We have that money from our various entrepreneurial activities to date, but we have no reserves. Please help by paying at least a fiver with the Paypal button and registering your membership.

 

Community Owned Hydro

We have taken up the challenge of trying to create a local renewable energy asset, by taking forward a scheme to install Archimedes Screw hydro turbines at the Lea Bridge weir. Initial estimates suggest that the scheme will be economically viable, but a detailed feasibility study will be needed once we have an agreement with British Waterways that we can take the scheme forward.

The Toilets Threatened

A shock phone call just before Christmas alerted us to a bid from Homerton Hospital to buy the toilets site and demolish them to provide extra office space. We have discussed the issue with the hospital and are hopeful of helping them meet their needs without the toilet site.

But it may mean a renewed campaign. There is no doubt of the need for toilets- as evidenced by the e-mails from the hospital urging us to extend the toilet operating hours!

We have submitted the planning application for change of use (drawings and design and access statement here) and there’s a petition to sign in support.

Sustainable Clapton

There is a new lottery programme called Communities Living Sustainably that will fund 10 pilot projects nationwide to bring together community action and education in less advantaged areas in pursuit of more sustainable lifestyles.

Our plan would see a series of actions around use of renewable energy, traffic reduction, recycling and neighbourhood planning as outlined in the “Sustainable Clapton” report.

We held a meeting on Monday23rd January at 7pm at the St John’s Ambulance Hall, Mildenhall Road E5- just behind Clapton Pond- to discuss the bid before we submitted it. The Council, Springboard Hackney, the hospital and Chatsworth Road Traders and Residents’ Association joined the partnership.

Clapton Music Club

The neighbourhood musical appreciation gathering returns in the louche lounge that is the Hackney United Services Club 69 Powerscroft Road E5 on Friday 3rd March at 7.30. Admission is £3.50 for members, and membership £1.

The evening features a Dance Night- by popular demand an evening of hip shaking grooves- showing how eclectic Clapton’s favourite club is. Hot dogs (vegan as well) will line your stomach for the workers club priced beverages on offer.

Environmental Projects

One of our members- Suzy Enoh-Arthur, who works at Homerton Hospital, is doing a couple of environmental projects with the Society’s support.

The first involves assessing environmental impact and growing vegetables with mental health patients in the hospital, and the other setting up raised growing beds in Rushmore School. We’re happy to support such initiatives by our members.

Training

Following the great success of the food hygiene course, we’re planning three more this spring- how to run a market stall, how to use social media in business and food hygiene again. Register an interest and we’ll let you know details as they’re confirmed.