Am SO delighted that this cold and grey January has been brightened up by the launch of the Forest: an online magazine for Forest Gate.
Dreamed up, hosted and promoted by the ever-creative Aiden at Tracks E7, his newest creation is an online magazine which includes articles by local people, recipes, profiles, interviews, events information, and even an online forum.
I had a chat with Aiden, pictured above, and asked him to tell me and readers of the blog a few things about this new project.
First of all, I wanted to know what was behind his decision to set up the Forest?
“As Forest Gate is such a unique ecosystem with many artists, creatives and entrepreneurs, we wanted to create an easily digestible platform to showcase this with content that has a more personal touch that appeals to people from all walks of life – ‘a paper for people, by the people’.
Additionally, small businesses especially in the arts, hospitality and retail sector have been adversely affected by the pandemic. The Forest can be a medium to increase awareness of local business in Newham and the surrounding area plus drive footfall to aid their recovery and reorientation in navigating the post-lockdown landscape.”
He says the biggest challenge in getting it out there was, “Getting the look and feel of the platform right. For us this was a delicate balancing act as naturally we want it to be aspirational and have universal appeal but at the same time not too glossy that it comes across pretentious.”
In terms of what the publication can contribute to Forest Gate, he said, “The pandemic has been a catalyst in many of our local residents reevaluating their careers and lifestyle. Our vision is to nurture an inclusive and cooperative economy that supports local creatives and encourages entrepreneurship regardless of age, background or experience.
“A collaborative platform that champions community, we will shine a light on small business and grassroots projects all through the lens of budding writers and local authors.
We hope The Forest will help the local area evolve further into a destination and drive local economic growth so we’re retaining an emergent wealth locally and building a green, circular economy.
We’ve been overwhelmed by the amazing reaction we’ve had to the launch of The Forest and we hope it enriches local life in the borough.”
Aiden doesn’t sound like a man with much free time, but he still has plenty of new stuff coming up, “We will expand on our editorial with video content in the pipeline plus we’re exploring launching a print edition in the near future and a radio station so we can shows and podcasts.
“With Tracks, though the emergence of Omicron wiped out our Christmas trade, it’s a more positive outlook on the horizon with an exciting events programme planned with live bands, supper clubs and workshops plus we’re planning a spring/summer schedule of festivals down the Avenue Arches station strip.
“We’ve also got some amazing news on a regeneration project that we’ve been working hard on behind the scenes and can reveal very soon so stay tuned…”
Can’t wait to hear more. Big thanks to Aiden and his team for all their work.