On Saturday 4 December, Poplar residents welcomed in the festive season by switching on lights along Aberfeldy Street, with some special guests.
Along with community V.I.P’s, nominated by Aberfeldy Street traders, Mayor John Biggs, the Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh Minister Zahidul Islam and Councillor Ahbab Hossain, Speaker of Tower Hamlets Council helped to switch on the festive light display which will remain in place until January next year.
The Festival of Light was organised by Aberfeldy Street business owners for the community on national Small Business Saturday which celebrates small business success and encourages customers to ‘shop local’.
Laurrice Debichi, a local Poplar resident who helped switched on the lights, said:
‘I was born in Aberfeldy and most of my friends were born here too. It is a really close-knit community. It has been great to see more shops open on Aberfeldy Street have more on offer which we can use and see the street come to life. It reminds me of what I remember Aberfeldy Street was like when I was younger.
Me and my family have been going along regularly to all the events and activities on the high street. I think it is important to keep the community spirit going and have opportunities which bring the community together and connect us with new people.’
Josh Johnson, a personal trainer who also volunteers for Aberfeldy Boxing Club, said:
‘Aberfeldy Street has given me an opportunity to change my life in a way I thought it would never change! I’ve completed my Kickstart placement at Aberfeldy Boxing Club this year, running children’s boxing classes and it’s given me a new direction. Since finishing I still volunteer my time at the club and am setting up my own personal training businesses. If I could sum up the street for me it would be great people, great services and great vibes!’
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:
‘This is a fantastic way to encourage people to shop local within Tower Hamlets. Our small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic and so festive events like this help to give them a boost and also showcases the community spirit of our business owners.
The Aberfeldy regeneration will also provide much-needed new affordable homes for families in the borough, as well as investment in the area.’
The event included a Winter Market organised by Aberfeldy Big Local, with goods such as bubble tea made by young people from Spotlight, jigsaws and knitwear made by local and independent traders, on offer.
Christmas card and gingerbread house workshops took place at non-profit furniture shop More Life Home and the Your Future Aberfeldy hub, and mince pies and alcohol-free mulled wine were available to residents from Tommy’s Flowers pub. There was also boxing club taster sessions at the Aberfeldy Boxing Club that people could drop into throughout the course of the afternoon.
Thank you to everyone who came along and supported the Festival of Light including Councillor Victoria Obaze, Councillor Kahar Chowdhury and Councillor Rajib Ahmed.
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