Innovative plans are underway to create a vibrant, environmentally friendly ‘wellbeing cultural community quarter’ in West Ealing.

The area is seeing a huge amount of building development yet shops on The Broadway are left empty and others continue to close down.

The now empty Benson for Beds shop

A new project – in its early stages and urgently in need of backers – between OPEN Ealing and Ealing Centre for Independent Living (ECIL) is aiming to help breathe new life into the area, bring in new footfall and boost the local economy.

Initially they want to rent the former Hawasana cafe (171 West Ealing Broadway) and combine a shop selling refurbished mobility equipment alongside an artistic hub.

Throughout the country millions of pounds worth of aids such as wheelchairs, walking sticks, bath seats and shower chairs which help the disabled, elderly and infirm live independently, are dumped in landfill. Despite the huge sums spent, there is no national policy on how the NHS or councils should deal with used equipment, so a high proportion of perfectly good quality material gets thrown away.

Mandie Wilde from OPEN and Katie Peploe from ECIL

Katie Peploe from ECIL says it’s a shocking and unnecessary waste which could be prevented and why they are proposing a totally unique shop for West Ealing.

She says: ‘’ We’re excited by the site plans, and would have part of the shop selling affordable refurbished and mobility equipment upcycled by our team of Apprentices under the watchful and skilled eye of a qualified mobility engineer. We would like the apprenticeships to be filled by young clients of ECIL who face additional barriers to entering the job market.’’

The environmentally friendly shop will be the first of its kind in the area with equipment sold at around half the new sale price and is aimed at making West Ealing inclusive and accessible for all.

The ‘Wellbeing Cultural Quarter’ is also planning to offer a wide range of art activities and will be a place where people can ‘meet old friends, make new ones and express themselves.’

OPEN Ealing which has served the community in several locations in W13 for the last eight years and provided over 2,000 courses, exhibitions and shows, will deliver the artistic hub.

Mandie Wilde from OPEN says similar to the old style village hall this new facility would provide a much needed focal point.

‘’ We’ll be able to learn about the area’s diverse culture through exhibitions, classes & events all curated by the community for the community with art from local artists covering the walls.’’

The shop is the first stage of an even bigger project idea which would see the area around St James church becoming a thriving cultural quarter.

Mandie continues:  ‘’ Although nothing’s a done deal if we are in at the ground level showing we can develop this for the community, and that’s got to be the way to go, to me it’s a no brainer. I can see the vision really, really clearly and if it gives people the confidence we can take it further.’’

They’ve applied for funding but in order for the Mayor and his team to consider supporting the project at least 100 backers are needed by 17 October.

You can back the ‘Community Cultural Quarter’ on the Spacehive platform here:  https://www.spacehive.com/community-cultural-quarter