What if… we had lots of schemes ready to launch as soon as we’re through the coronavirus outbreak?

Ride side by side c Bikeworks CIC

Just before the coronavirus hit, there were several projects about to launch after successful crowdfunding bids. Here are three great examples of the ingenuity and creativity of communities reshaping their environments and making London greener, healthier and wilder.

Ride side by side

Bikeworks CIC in Hammersmith and Fulham raised £30,000 for this scheme to get senior members of their community involved in active travel.


Ride side by side c Bikeworks CICParticipants will be over 60, have an issue with mobility, be socially isolated, or be visually impaired. People will book a trip by phone. A rider will pick them up, riding a side by side cycle and take them on a trip of their choice for an hour and half. They can choose to go shopping, visit a friend, visit a local amenity such as local park, or just explore their areas and get some exercise. They will get help at their destination, such as help with carrying shopping or getting on and off the cycle. Participants can choose to pedal or just enjoy the ride in fresh air. The riders will be trained in cycling and cycle mechanics, managing risk, working with older people and have an up to date DBS check. They will be sociable and friendly.

Ride side by side © Bikeworks CIC

The project will help people least likely to get their recommended amount of exercise, bringing them health benefits. It will enable them to get out in the fresh air and explore their local area. They will be visible to others giving the locale a more balanced representation of its residents.

By giving people the opportunity to be active, the service will reduce participants reliance on the NHS, since it will improve their well-being due to the exercise and the conviviality.

Ride Side-by-Side will tackle loneliness and isolation. People will have an opportunity to chat with their co-rider (pilot), interact with others, tell stories about themselves and reminisce.

Active travel and chat Bikeworks CIC

Active travel and chat © Bikeworks CIC

Ride Side-by-Side will help people with things they need to do like shopping, visit friends and family, explore the borough or get to an appointment. It will have a broader impact with regards reducing motorised trips and showcase active, emissions free travel.

In Hackney, the Kings Crescent Tenants and Residents Association crowdfunded more than £17,000 to transform a shop into a new community space. The dream: a beautiful venue to host fun & inspiring activities & events serving their diverse estate residents & the wider community.

The project is supported by Hackney Council and the Mayor of London Kings Crescent Tenants and Residents Association

The project is supported by Hackney Council and the Mayor of London  © Kings Crescent Tenants and Residents Association

The new space is a raw, fully accessible 360 square metre shop front unit, which we will make habitable and beautiful. We’re so excited to be joining forces with local arts charity Hackney Showroom to transform this new unit into a dynamic community space and work together with the community to dream up new plans for activities and events for all. The adjoining play street will be utilised too, enabling even more community activities to be run outdoors in suitable weather.

Play Street Kings Crescent Tenants and Residents Association

Play Street © Kings Crescent Tenants and Residents Association

The TRA plan to deliver a timetable of activities in line with the wishes expressed by Kings Crescent residents. Ideas requested from the community so far include cookery demonstrations, street parties, a book club, homework club, youth club, gentle exercise for older residents and music events.

Hackney Showroom is delivering a programme of creative & cultural projects including: FUTUREHEADS, a holiday project for 8-11 year olds; Disco Loco, a family arts programme for the very young and their families; Hackney Showroom Young Actors, a high level skills based training course for 16-25 year olds serious about a career in acting.

We are so thrilled to be able to enjoy a meaningful collaboration with Hackney Showroom and think this coming together has bags of potential! Our contrasting strengths will really be an asset to the community – the TRA with our grassroots engagement with local residents, and Hackney Showroom with their expertise in conjuring up inspirational activity, is a recipe for a great future for our local community.

“We are excited to be partnering with Hackney Showroom on this venture as they bring a vast amount of knowledge, experience and connections.”  

For more information on the Kings Crescent regeneration project, visit: https://www.hackney.gov.uk/kings-crescent-estate.

Streatham Community Woodland Project

The project will protect the woodland habitats for future generations and increase the wildlife and habitats. The activities will give the communities skills, knowledge and a sense of belonging.

 Streatham Common Co operative SCCoop

© Streatham Common Co-operative (SCCoop)

The project aims to increase wildlife and prevent address the decline of the woodland from water erosion and trampling. They’ll do this by creating a wild trail pathway through the woods and by fencing off areas to allow wildlife to thrive. This, and some other planned work, will provide areas of additional interest for all users of the Common.

The project aims to inspire long-term volunteer involvement with the woods and nature reserve; building relationships with people whilst building habitats for wildlife. The existing volunteers come from a cross section of the surrounding communities, already engaged with local primary schools, colleges and groups representing local people with social difficulties, such as homeless charities.

Why it’s a great idea:

Is essential for the wildlife that the group makes it a resilient habitat. Improved biodiversity will be delivered through a series of volunteer activities under the guidance of the Head Ranger. Scrub and brambles will be cleared to allow more light to penetrate and enable other plant species to populate the woodland floor. There will be removal of invasive species from the woodland area and improvement of the soils where needed. Following that we will plant young indigenous trees, other understorey woodland plants and meadow plants to enhance butterfly and other insect numbers. New hedgerows will also be created to form an enhanced corridor beyond the woods.

 Streatham Common Co operative SCCoop

© Streatham Common Co-operative (SCCoop)

The project will bring the wider community closer and broaden the reach of the woodland to many that may not know of its existence.

What if?

#WhatIf… there was more funding for initiatives like this post coronavirus? 

#WhatIf… more people actively crowdfunded projects to make London greener, healthier and wilder?


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