Green spaces aren’t just green spaces anymore. Since our worlds changed in March, they have taken on a new significance – reborn as pubs, restaurants and living rooms. They are the sites of birthday parties and family reunions. They are places of safety and comfort that have made it possible to see our friends’ faces after months of separation.
Even before the lockdown, the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden was never just a green space, but a social enterprise, a generous haven for the community filled with free cooking workshops, live music sessions, and, at Halloween, the famous Pumpkin Lantern Festival.
Located on the site of the old Eastern Curve railway line, the garden was founded in 2010 by environmental activists Marie Murray and Brian Cumming who decided to give residents a calming space where the community could gather.
In a normal year, the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden welcomes 160,000 visitors, and depends on the summer profits from its onsite café so that it can stay open all year round. But this hasn’t been a normal year. As a result of the lockdown closure, the garden lost 100 percent of its income, and the financial losses mean it will now need to raise £100,000 to be able to reopen. A Save Dalston Curve Garden crowdfund was launched this week in the hopes of reaching that goal.
The 100k target will go towards paying for extensive building works in the garden’s entrance area to allow for social distancing, as well as allowing the venue to survive the year on a significantly reduced income.
At the time of writing, they have reached £21,000 of the target. ‘We are overwhelmed by the level of support shown for the Garden,’ Marie Murray told us, ‘We raised £20k in 20 hours, from hundreds of people who have been so generous with donations, in sharing the campaign and their kind words of encouragement. We are full of gratitude and feel immensely boosted!’
In a statement on the Save Dalston Curve Garden’s crowdfund’s page, the founders wrote: ‘This is the biggest challenge of our 10 years and the one that will most highlight how much we are fundamentally a space built by the people who grow with us. Together we have no doubt we can survive this, emerging even stronger for all our community to benefit.’
There is still a long way to go to secure its return, but things are looking hopeful. The Curve was never just a garden, it’s a space made for the good of the community, and if we want to keep it, we have to start giving back.
If you can, open your wallet and contribute to the crowdfund here.
In other green-space news, London Fields could be hit with a booze ban.
Want to support struggling businesses in London? Follow our Love Local campaign.