We love being part of London’s flourishing creative scene, especially when it works hard to support those in need of help and raises communities based on shared interests and goals. One thing we’re not so keen on, however, is how some of the cooler shops and commerce hubs, galleries, creative spaces and markets quickly become exclusive, stuck up and dare we say it gentrified.
The word ‘gentrification’ is thrown around an awful lot these days but much as its use may irk many of our peers, its a useful term; it initiates conversations that young creative people should be having about what’s happening around them and how to use their resources and talents in the best ways. A few individuals are already having these conversations and going a step further by using their interests and expertise to make positive changes in the city we love so well, starting with addressing the reality of how London treats its homeless citizens.
Charlotte Cramer and Scarlett Montanaro are the founders of CRACK + CIDER, an online shop that stocks just a few useful items for rough sleepers, things to help anyone who spends the majority of their day sitting out in the cold and essential gifts that will make an impact. Approximately 7,581 of London’s residents sleep rough and as the weather turns nastier and people continue to awkwardly ignore those asking for help, Scarlett and Charlotte’s store aims to protect and assist anyone living on the streets using creativity, great design, collaboration and simple common sense.
A rucksack, winter coat, umbrella or gloves probably don’t seem like important gifts to the majority of Londoners; Londoners have loads of umbrellas knocking about at home. A fleece might not seem like a big deal either, however, it’s these well-designed and useful items that will ensure that anyone without a home can stay relatively warm and dry this winter, whether somebody is kind enough to stop and offer them a few pounds or a hot meal or not.
As you’ve probably surmised, the shop takes its name from the commonly held stereotypes and misconceptions that circulate around rough sleepers in the city. The two founders decided on calling their venture CRACK + CIDER after they were told, ‘People don’t give me money because they just think I’ll spend it on crack and cider’. We’re pretty sure we’ve heard a fair few people use this excuse for avoiding altruism too so we’re glad someone’s calling bullshit on it now.
This November the online shop has launched a temporary home on Kingsland Road within one of our favourite stores: One Good Deed Today. Have a little look online or swing by the Dalston pop-up to see the carefully selected stock and pick out something that will make a big difference to somebody who’s probably having a harder time than you this Christmas. Charlotte and Scarlett work with local shelters to make sure the gifts are delivered as soon as possible so forego that spiced seasonal skinny latte or whatever it is you’re wasting your money on every morning and pay CRACK + CIDER a visit.
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Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth