Submitted by: Amy Croome
The shop next to the Star of India restaurant in High Road, Leytonstone has had many uses in the past and over the course 2014 it gradually developed into a small but growing community hub.
Social enterprise radio station, East London Radio (ELR), who have their studios in the back of the shop, have been there longest and opened the shop to three other creative community groups: Portfolio Space, who have created an ad-hoc office for freelancers and job-seekers, Leontia Gallery, whose artwork popped up on the walls, and the newest member All You Read Is Love, a bookshop and café run by literature loving Danes.
Following phenomenal growth, the station has now four sites in Leytonstone, Poplar, Canning Town and Ilford and will feature on Channel 4 in February 2015 as part of a documentary on the NHS cuts.
“At ELR, we’re working hard with the community to bring as many of the great flavours of the area to the radio airwaves, and I’d personally like to thank the million or so of us who live in East London for making it a brilliant place to live and work,” says managing director, Ian Chambers.
Portfolio Space has created a free office space for anyone struggling to get work done from their home office.
Freelancers and job-seekers are equally welcome to work quietly or bounce ideas off each other over cups of tea. January and February 2015 will serve as a consultation phase to find out what local people want and need, which will inform how the project develops.
The latest addition to the hub is All You Read is Love, an independent bookshop, café and bar run by Danish siblings, Anders and Karen. It serves coffees, cocktails, cakes and savouries all day and hosts events throughout the week.
The bookshop stocks carefully selected literary fiction, graphic novels, poetry and illustrated children’s fiction.
To find out more about any of the organisations above, drop in to 877 High Rd Leytonstone from Tuesday-Sunday 10am-10pm, or contact them online: eastlondonradio.org.uk; portfoliobar.co.uk; allyoureadislove.com.