10-day Community Business Festival in Tower Hamlets sets record levels of footfall 

A 10-day Community Business Festival saw record levels of footfall at Tower Hamlets Town Hall, with a total of 42,057 visits, peaking on day three with 6,918 visits.

The festival was created to celebrate the various traditions and cultures within the borough, while showcasing different organisations and what they have to offer. 

On  April 1, the festival launched with prayers from two faith leaders, Imam Sheikh Kazi Ashiqur Rahman and Reverend James Olanipekun (Rabbi Leon Silver sent his apologies), a speech from Cllr Abdul Wahid, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Social Inclusion, spoken word by Queen Mary University students and entertainment from local band, RAAWI, singing traditional Nasheeds.

Joy Nsoedo, from Joy Fashions, who hosted a stall: “As I informed the Mayor the day he visited my stand, this was a life changing opportunity for me, as I am an over 50, black woman with not enough money to rent a shop.

“This gave me the opportunity to showcase my products in order to see how potential customers could react to it.”

There were activities for the entire family including facepainting, egg hunts, arts and crafts, balloon modelling, henna and storytelling for the children. 

Traders at Whitechapel Market partook in the festivities and even extended their opening hours until 9pm to ensure everyone’s shopping needs were met. 

Angela from The Heritage & Arts Centre Bow, a community-led centre, said: “It was such an invaluable platform for online businesses: the hidden, mainly female-led economy, to trade face to face with new customers.”

More than half of the 100 traders that hosted stalls were Tower Hamlets businesses or residents. 

Along with opening the festival Cabinet Member Cllr Abdul Wahid visited the festival on multiple days and said:  “As much as possible, we want to give small local businesses a platform to shout about the amazing products and services they have. 

“I think we achieved our goal and much more.”

As this festival was the first of its kind, the Council is currently evaluating the success of the event as well as working closely with local businesses and stakeholders to gain their feedback. 

Images courtesy of Tower Hamlets Council, with thanks

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