Community led swimming ponds for East London

A community group has launched a Crowdfunder project to transform an East London industrial site into community-owned natural swimming ponds and a biodiverse park.

The East London Waterworks Park will replace an old Thames Water depot on the boarder of Hackney and Waltham Forest and will be owned by the community for the community. The vision is to transform the industrial site into a new biodiverse park with public swimming ponds cleaned naturally by reeds and aquatic plants. The plans also include community spaces and a forest school. The ambition is to offer year-round swimming, spaces for people to meet and develop ideas and ensuring as many people as possible can enjoy nature.

The land is currently owned and managed by LocatED, the Department for Education’s arms-length property company. After planning permission for two schools was rejected the site is up for sale. The community want the future of the site to be for public benefit and are raising money to buy the land. The group are hoping to raise £1 million through crowdfunding and raise the remaining £2 million they need through corporate donations and grants.

The project objectives are to deliver mental and physical health, environmental, learning and economic benefits to the community. Access to green and blue spaces has been proven to enhance people’s wellbeing and the park will create brand-new opportunities for people to immerse themselves in nature. If successful, the park will host the first permanent, public and natural swimming ponds in the UK, which are fed by rainwater and filtered by aquatic plants.

The project has already received significant support, the first crowdfunding campaign in 2021 reached its goal which was then matched by a generous donor. This enabled the vision for the site to be developed and a pre-feasibility study to be completed. A business plan predicts that the project will deliver more than £16.24 million in social value.

By supporting the current campaign, you will contribute to the fund that will enable the purchase of the land. There are a range of rewards as a token of appreciation which include a tree planted in the name of someone special or naming parts of the park in your honour.

To donate visit Crowdfunder

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Ella is renowned outdoor swimmer and journalist. As well as leading the editorial, digital and experiential outputs for Outdoor Swimmer she is also Director of Dip Advisor, a swim guiding business helping people enjoy wild water. Ella also teaches swimming to children and adults, is an Open Water Coach and RLSS Open Water Lifeguard.