Over the summer, we were delighted to officially open The Wilds at Barking Riverside, a multi-purpose community, ecology, and events space.
The Wilds delivers local amenities through bookable room hire for events, meetings, and parties plus space for co-working. It provides a platform for visitors and the community to connect with the natural environment at Barking Riverside overlooking our new open space and walkway ‘Oystercatcher Park’. It is also home to the new coffee shop co-operative GROUNDED, serving a range of tea, coffee, and cake. The basement is also home to the innovative Envac vacuum waste collection system that serves the estate. We hope the Wilds will become a place for creativity and big thinking in relation to sustainability, re-using, and recycling.
We are proud to have formed a partnership with the Participatory City Foundation to help activate the building through their initiative in Barking and Dagenham, Every One Every Day. A series of events took place throughout the summer to celebrate the opening in partnership with Every One Every Day and many other groups.
On the 24 July, elected Councillors joined representatives from BRL, Every One Every Day, and over 400 local residents at a public festival to mark the official launch. On the opening day, visitors also took part in a variety of workshops and talks by local groups, including Thames Ward Community Project and the Barking Food Forest. Cllr Saima Ashraf and Cllr Fatuma Nalule were the first customers at GROUNDED. This unique co-operative business has been incubated by Coffee:Works, a training programme delivered as part of the partnership between Every One Every Day and BRL.
Continuing BRL’s commitment to placemaking initiatives at The Wilds, a series of workshops and activities called ‘Wild About…’ were organised for families over an eight-week period. Further, ‘Wild Explorers’, a programme of activities run by Creative Barking and Dagenham, engaged nearly 200 residents over the summer.
Concluding an active summer of activities and workshops at The Wilds, the BRL team partnered with Creative Barking and Dagenham to bring the renowned artwork ‘Gaia’ to Barking Riverside in early September, as part of the Open House London festival.
A touring artwork by artist Luke Jerram, ‘Gaia’ is a giant reproduction of planet Earth created from 120dpi NASA imagery. With an approximate scale of 1:500,000, the sphere measures seven metres in diameter.
We were delighted to welcome over 1,500 visitors, community groups, and school groups to view the exhibition over the weekend, with visitors travelling from Barking Riverside and the wider borough, as well as other areas across London. Some of our stakeholders also enjoyed a special preview on the 2 September.
The Wilds is now open to the public for coffee, co-working, meetings and events. Spaces within the building are available for corporate hire. As a special offer, we would like to invite all our corporate partners and stakeholders to hold their first meeting at The Wilds with a special discount. We also invite you to book a free tour of the space with our events manager. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
View more information about The Wilds.
Gaia photo: courtesy of Creative Barking and Dagenham.