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Forgotten families in Shoreditch ‘Bermuda Triangle’ hit back with Jubilee barbecue

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 June 2012 | UPDATED: 00:12 05 June 2012

Naseem Khan and The Hut that she and her neighbours in Gascoigne Place opened themselves

Naseem Khan and The Hut that she and her neighbours in Gascoigne Place opened themselves

Archant

Families tucked away in the back streets of the ‘Bermuda Triangle of Shoreditch’ were fed up being left in the forgotten corner of London’s East End.

So they took over a disused hut left by builders on their estate at the back of Shoreditch Church and opened it up on Sunday with a barbecue party in time for the Royal Jubilee.

The tenant families, who say Tower Hamlets council was doing nothing with the near-derelict brick structure, took action themselves—led by grandmother Naseem Khan.

“We are cinderellas,” she said. “The Hut was left abandoned for 15 years.

“So we decided to redecorate it and make it feel more human.”

They got an army of volunteers to help, including staff from Lloyds Bank community programme who chipped in.

A Jubilee barbecue was set up and a bouncy castle hired for the day for the kids to help put Gascoigne Place on the map.

Neighbourhood steering group treasurer James Green explained: “One side there’s a thriving Shoreditch High Street, the other side is Columbia Road flower market which gets a lot of attention and round the corner is Arnold Circus where there’s plenty of activity.

“But Gascoigne Place in the middle of it gets forgotten—it’s like we’re in the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of Shoreditch!”

The families took over The Hut, as it’s known, before finalising a tenancy agreement with the council—but with the blessing of Tower Hamlets Homes which manages the Gascoigne Estate that seems pleased with community involvement in improving the neighbourhood.

The tenants’ steering group has already turned wasteland on the estate into allotments and now has plans to extend the small lawn to increase the children’s play area.

It also has a vision to use the vandalised underground car-park for community agriculture—to grow mushrooms.

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