Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Last bid to save popular Leyton venue

The venue opened in one half of a furniture factory last autumn

Hero for Last bid to save popular Leyton venue
Patchworks in Church Road (credit: Patchworks)
By Victoria Munro 20 April 2022

A popular Leyton venue has one last chance to secure its future after going into thousands of pounds worth of rent arrears.A popular Leyton venue has one last chance to secure its future after going into thousands of pounds worth of rent arrears.

Patchworks opened in one half of a furniture factory in Church Road last autumn and has hosted a number of events and exhibitions, some attracting thousands of visitors.Patchworks opened in one half of a furniture factory in Church Road last autumn and has hosted a number of events and exhibitions, some attracting thousands of visitors.

Will Sandy, one of a group of volunteers running the space, explained their vision for the dilapidated building was to create a hyper-local “community hub”, while also attracting international artists to “put Leyton on the map”.Will Sandy, one of a group of volunteers running the space, explained their vision for the dilapidated building was to create a hyper-local “community hub”, while also attracting international artists to “put Leyton on the map”.

The project has so far had no public funding and, like many venues, struggled with the lingering impact of Covid. This means that, despite its popularity, it is now in thousands of pounds of debt.The project has so far had no public funding and, like many venues, struggled with the lingering impact of Covid. This means that, despite its popularity, it is now in thousands of pounds of debt.

In a last-ditch chance to save Patchworks, the team has set up a fundraiser in the hopes of raising £20,000, both to secure its future and to allow for improvements like heat and noise insulation.In a last-ditch chance to save Patchworks, the team has set up a fundraiser in the hopes of raising £20,000, both to secure its future and to allow for improvements like heat and noise insulation.

Will told the Echo: “We’re going to give it one last push because it would be a shame to waste everything at this stage, especially when everyone’s really enjoying what we have put together.Will told the Echo: “We’re going to give it one last push because it would be a shame to waste everything at this stage, especially when everyone’s really enjoying what we have put together.

“We’ve had people saying they’ve lived here 10 years and this is the first time they’ve had somewhere to meet and congregate with people. We hope to be the missing link on Lea Bridge Road because there’s not been a lot going on here, although that’s starting to change.“We’ve had people saying they’ve lived here 10 years and this is the first time they’ve had somewhere to meet and congregate with people. We hope to be the missing link on Lea Bridge Road because there’s not been a lot going on here, although that’s starting to change.

“It’s only because we’ve been stuck in lockdowns and non-lockdowns that caused everyone to stay home [that we’re in arrears], we’ve already got a good role in the local community and we do foresee we’ll start to make a profit.”“It’s only because we’ve been stuck in lockdowns and non-lockdowns that caused everyone to stay home [that we’re in arrears], we’ve already got a good role in the local community and we do foresee we’ll start to make a profit.”

Once out of their current crisis, the team hopes to secure a 20-year lease for the building, fearing it could otherwise be snapped up by a housing developer, with rumours suggesting a developer has already made a £1million offer.Once out of their current crisis, the team hopes to secure a 20-year lease for the building, fearing it could otherwise be snapped up by a housing developer, with rumours suggesting a developer has already made a £1million offer.

Will explained that the project owes much of its success so far to Warren Menkenrick, who provided much of the private funding and has “had a relationship with the landlord for three generations through their shared work in the furniture business”.Will explained that the project owes much of its success so far to Warren Menkenrick, who provided much of the private funding and has “had a relationship with the landlord for three generations through their shared work in the furniture business”.

He added: “[Because of that relationship] there was an opportunity to see if we could take the building and do something meaningful. When we saw the site, we all fell in love with it, everything happened organically from there.”He added: “[Because of that relationship] there was an opportunity to see if we could take the building and do something meaningful. When we saw the site, we all fell in love with it, everything happened organically from there.”

Donate to save Patchworks hereDonate to save Patchworks here