We need your help!
With rising costs in this current difficult climate, our future is uncertain. We are trying to raise at least £50,000 to secure the future of Tracks and safeguard our vision for our community hub and marketplace.
We started Tracks as a community project in 2018 and are proud of the space and the relationships we have built. We are a viable business during normal times but have struggled with the pandemic and the following financial turbulence. We are now asking for help to weather this current storm of cost increases and debts that we have accrued.
The area has lost some vital independent businesses and we do not want to lose Tracks. Please help keep the engine rolling!
Since opening Tracks - our Forest Gate restaurant, bar and record emporium - back in June 2018, it’s grown from a labour of love to an established neighbourhood hub. We pride ourselves on local values and collaborate with many local artists and makers. Over the years we have hosted a diverse program of events encompassing live music, workshops and festivals including Forest Gayte Pride and International Workers Day plus many pop-up markets to support small, local business. We’re incredibly proud to be awarded accreditation as a Newham Community Wealth Building Champion and London Living Wage employer.
Last year we submitted to Newham Council our large grant scheme bid proposal as part of their community wealth building strategy to support Tracks’ recovery and re-orientation in navigating the post-pandemic landscape. We were successful in securing funding to create a community-focused area in Forest Gate that adds long-term, sustainable value to the local community and businesses. The funding has supported projects including our outdoor multifunctional marketplace which we are collaborating on with local architect and Forest Gate Works founder Richard John Andrew. This will be the beating heart of our Avenue Road Arches regeneration project to help the area evolve further into a destination and drive local economic growth. It will also support local suppliers and traders so that we retain emergent wealth locally and build a green, circular economy.
We’re also giving further exposure to local entrepreneurs and small businesses through the grant-funded medium of our online community-driven magazine ‘The Forest’. A collaborative platform that champions community, The Forest shines a spotlight on small business and grassroots projects, all through the lens of budding writers and local authors. Since launching last year we’re already achieving up to 10,000 visits per month and the exposure we’ve given to Newham-based business and entrepreneurs has contributed to local success stories including Wild Beauty’s Mary Simmons who, as a result of the coverage in The Forest has opened a salon in Forest Gate:
“The article in The Forest really propelled my business forward; I had a small client base that rapidly expanded after the article was published, leading to me having to establish a wait list – and meant that I realised I had to expand beyond having appointments in my home, and giving me the confidence to know that I had enough interest to open a salon on Romford Road, which I got the keys to in November 2022. I don’t think that without the article any of this would have happened, so I’m very grateful to The Forest and Tracks for getting the word out.”
So our community wealth building initiatives have driven forward an inclusive economy. The pandemic has been a catalyst in many of our local residents re-evaluating their careers and lifestyle so we have helped nurture a co-operative economy that supports local creatives and encourages entrepreneurship regardless of age, background or experience.
The Newham Council Large Grant Scheme has helped us in achieving our goal in delivering community-powered projects. Since the pandemic we have had to constantly pivot with our arch adaptation saga - the volatile economic climate has continued to be considerably challenging with continuous aftershocks. This has been further exacerbated by the current cost of living crisis. Despite implementing cost-cutting measures including streamlining our opening hours, the exorbitant energy increases have resulted in our electric bill more than tripling, in tandem with our rent increase and soaring inflation.
Like many other small hospitality and retail businesses in the current trading climate, running Tracks has become more and more unsustainable. To be totally transparent, we should have shut up shop a long time ago but our community connections and the longer-term vision of our regeneration project has kept us going on our rocky railroad.
We’re very conscious we’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis but as we’ve had so many messages and community chat requesting how you can help, if you can donate and spread the word we will be eternally grateful. Essentially, your support will help us keep the lights on, keep our Tracks team employed (half of whom are Newham under 25s) and aid us in continuing to deliver community-powered projects.
Encouragingly, the festivals we co-hosted last year including Arch Day, Forest Gate Festive Market, Forest Gayte Pride, International Workers Day and the She Her They Them celebration contributed to some of our busiest days ever down the station strip. We see the longer-term potential of Tracks, Despite the uncertain economic outlook and we still believe in our vision of regenerating the Avenue Road Arches, so everyone is not just surviving but thriving. We can’t express enough our eternal gratitude to the Forest Gate and extended Newham community for showing the local love over the years.
Your support is our strength!
What we need the money for
|Finishing our new outdoor community space||£32,000|
|Covering our increased costs during winter||£10,000|
|Supporting our community projects||£8,000|