Stoke Newington High Street has a bustling community of small retailers much like a town centre and Rouge is proud to be part of this since 2005. Over the years the high street has grown and changed but at its core it has always been a focal point for people to connect, shop and socialise. A lot has changed in Hackney since the shop opened, but we continue to grow and evolve with the area and I’m really proud of that.
Now more than ever this unique high street offers Hackney and adjacent residents the ability to sustainably shop local, crossing paths and having conversations with each other. In many ways our high street is a social space and acts like the glue that holds our community together. What makes it quite special is our unique blend of independent and boutique retailers, cafes, bars and farmer’s market. These sit alongside larger chain supermarkets and pubs that offer people value for money and choice. Together, this variety makes it an interesting and inclusive space for every part of the community. Over the years we have developed a close knit traders community, organising events and campaigns together, including an annual Christmas campaign. In July this year over 70 local businesses participated in the Stoke Newington's 'Invisible People' art trail, featuring artwork created by local children living with disability.
This year Stoke Newington Business Association have teamed up with local company Output Arts to offer a series of FREE eco star lantern-making workshops for local schools and businesses and for the community. In October Rouge hosted two of the star making workshops for local businesses. The finished stars will be displayed in the windows of local businesses and homes to brighten things up this winter.
Ongoing collaborations like these, along with the support of local residents have allowed this high street to thrive while others have contracted. In 2022 Hackney Council launched its High Streets and Town Centres Fund to support the local economy and after a successful application Rouge was lucky enough to receive a grant. Funds from this grant allowed us to diversify and we now deliver workshops and classes that range from cookery and craft to yoga and mindfulness. In July we held a small gathering to welcome key contributors and friends, including Caitlin Clifton from the Hackney Business Support Programme and Deputy Lord Mayor , Cllr Antoinette Bramble.
The last few years have really shown us how important it is to have an established, tightly knit, and stable community of retailers helping each other. This is further bolstered by the ongoing work and support of Hackney Council on the local economy.
Over the years we grew to know people in the community, many of whom became good friends. Now, Rouge is a shop, events space and sometimes a social hub where people come together to create, talk and play.
To us this shop and high street mean so much more than retail.