1,000 East End jobseekers supported during Covid crisis, report reveals

Whitechapel market... helping reboot small businesses

Whitechapel market... helping reboot small businesses - Credit: Google

Nearly 1,000 people in the East End were helped secure jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, a report has found. 

Prepared for discussion at a Tower Hamlets Council cabinet meeting tonight - October 27 - the report lays bare the scale of help given during the 18-month crisis.

The authority launched a scheme just before the pandemic for people to run their own businesses and test trade them at street markets, but it hit the buffers when lockdown struck.

Lady Lane market traders halted by pandemic... now reinventing themselves as Lady Lane Kitchen catering business

Lady Lane market traders halted by pandemic... now reinventing themselves as Lady Lane Kitchen catering business - Credit: LBTH

Now a re-start scheme has been launched to help develop business ideas again. 

Among those getting help is a group of women market traders who have set up Lady Lane Kitchen venture in Spitalfields, which sells "munch breaks" in evening pop-ups at the Canvas Café in Hanbury Street.

“Now we have the chance to broaden our networks,” trader Leila Dansie explained. 

“You usually go through your neighbours when you start a new business. But this has given us confidence to go down other avenues, not just our immediate communities.” 

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The women, who were unable to trade through the pandemic, were put in touch with Canvas Café owner Ruth Rogers by the council. Ruth had heard their story and wanted to help them bounce back. 

Lady Lane Kitchen is an enterprise that has grown out of Lady Lane, London’s first women-led street market held on Fridays in Petticoat Lane before the pandemic.  

Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman watching Leila Dansie preparing for pop-up 'munch breaks' at Canvas Cafe

Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman watching Leila Dansie preparing for pop-up 'munch breaks' at Canvas Cafe - Credit: Kois Miah

Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman said: “We are supporting businesses by giving people the tools they need to succeed. The East End has a tradition of entrepreneurship.’’ 

But the report being presented to cabinet warns that the extent of the pandemic "won’t be fully known for several years".

This is despite the considerable financial support made available to businesses, which includes around £200 million in government grants alongside rate relief for 5,000 businesses.

Three-month rent relief was also given to organisations leasing council premises.  

Elsewhere, Covid-safe outdoor dining spaces were created around Spitalfields, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch to help the hospitality trade in Petticoat Lane, Brick Lane, Club Row, Brushfield Street, Boundary Street and Roman Road.


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