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Celebrating Sustainability, Community and Innovation at Poplar Works’ 3rd Birthday

It was inspiring to see so many of you at Poplar Works’ on Thursday 2nd March for our 3rd birthday celebrations!

As part of the festivities, the wonderful community of small businesses showcased their work during open studios and offered events for local residents to participate in. The programme for the day was truly a celebration of all the people that make Poplar Works a thriving hub of sustainability, innovation and social enterprise.

Once disused garages, Poplar Works now offers over 40 affordable studio spaces for start-ups and SMEs and is home to a diverse range of businesses, from sustainable fashion start-ups to not-for-profit organisations. Blossom Young, Head of Operations at Poplar HARCA, guided groups throughout the space and gave them a glimpse into the lives of the business community that reside here, including Birdsong, More Life Home, Post Carbon Lab and more.

Engaging with the local community has been integral to Poplar Works’ success, and there’s no better evidence of this success than the many families and local residents that joined in the celebrations at craft workshops throughout the afternoon. The Reclaimery taught techniques to customise your clothes using fabric paint, community member Asma Begum provided family-friendly crafting sessions in The Works Café, whilst Wax Atelier demonstrated the art of candle dipping.

The brilliant Making for Change team opened up their production hub to host a weaving workshop that repurposed textile waste to create one-of-a-kind keychains. Both the workshop and guided tours enabled visitors to see behind the scenes at Making for Change – a social enterprise that offers a production training programme and works with designers, industry, and early-stage businesses to produce orders using sustainable and ethical practices.

We rounded off the day with a gathering in The Works Café for the members and partners that have been part of Poplar Works’ journey over the last three years. Whilst sharing a celebratory drink and getting stuck into nibbles, courtesy of The Works team, we heard from Blossom Young – Head of Operations at Poplar HARCA, Claire Swift – Director of Social Responsibility at London College of Fashion, Rachel Arnold – Creative Director at Renew East London (RenewEL), and Helen Lax – Director at Fashion District.

Each of the speakers acknowledged how incredible it has been to see Poplar Works develop into a nurturing and supportive ecosystem of businesses that places people and planet at the centre of everything that they do. There was a sense of excitement surrounding the future of Poplar Works and its potential to continue forging valuable connections and fostering innovation over the years to come.

Keen to settle into a studio at Poplar Works? You can check availability and apply here.

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