Riverscape

East River Wharf shared ownership may cost less than renting

Legal And General Affordable Homes’ scheme offers compelling alternative with deposits starting at £4,844 for a one-bedroom property

Image shows a collection of residential tower blocks that make up the Riverscape development next to the Thames in Royal Docks. East River Wharf's buildings are orange and at the centre
East River Wharf’s buildings are located at the centre of Riverscape close to Lyle Park

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Rising rents are arguably one of the biggest pressures in the housing market right now.

According to a recent study by estate agency Stirling Ackroyd, tenants are currently paying an average of £1,966 a month for a one-bedroom property near Canary Wharf.

While wider inflation has fallen back to 2.3% and average two-year fixed mortgages have dropped back to less than 5% in May, with cheaper borrowing expected later in the year, rents are forecast to climb ever higher.

One study from Savills predicts more than 6% growth over 2024.

Increasingly, affordable housing providers are highlighting shared ownership properties as a less expensive alternative to renting.

Image shows living area with a wooden floor at East River Wharf
A show home interior at East River Wharf

case study: East River Wharf

Take Legal And General Affordable Homes’ East River Wharf scheme, for example.

Its properties form part of Riverscape – essentially an extension of Ballymore and Oxley’s Royal Wharf development on the banks of the Thames at Silvertown. 

Located roughly 15 minutes from Canary Wharf itself via the DLR and Jubilee line, these one, two and three-bedroom homes are set in a wealth of green space close to Lyle Park in a freshly regenerated part of Docklands.

Neighbouring Royal Wharf boasts a wealth of amenities including a pub, restaurants, shops and health services. 

Residents will enjoy access to a health club with a gym, pool, spa and fitness studio as well as a 16th floor sky lounge with views over the Thames to Greenwich and Canary Wharf.

The apartments at East River Wharf include private balconies, open-plan design and fully fitted kitchens with integrated Siemens appliances.

But, alongside the quality of the finish and the facilities, the key attraction lies in escaping the grind and uncertainty of the rental market.

A deposit of £4,844 could be enough to secure a one-bedroom home at the scheme – 5% of a 25% share worth £96,875.

Monthly costs are expected to be about £1,465.

By purchasing a portion of the property, a buyer can essentially secure a £387,500 apartment with no threat of eviction.

They also enjoy all the freedoms to enjoy living in the space they might expect if it was owned outright. 

In contrast to renting, purchasers of shared ownership homes are not subject to landlord inspections or controls on how they decorate their space, for example. 

Image shows a show home kitchen at the development
Properties come with fully fitted kitchens

capital appreciation

They also own an asset that, in the case of East River Wharf, is highly likely to appreciate.

The area has already undergone extensive regeneration, but there’s much more in the pipeline for Royal Docks.

Major infrastructure and housing investments are in the pipeline over the coming years with homes, businesses and facilities set to be built locally.

Already an attractive area to live in, these developments are likely to bring fresh demand as buyers look east for high quality homes to purchase in the future. 

Royal Wharf is already well served by the DLR and bus routes as well as a dedicated pier for Uber Boat By Thames Clippers services, which run all the way to Putney along the river. 

Image shows the Greenwich Peninsula and Canary Wharf skylines at sunset as seen from Riverscape's residents' lounge
The view from the communal residents’ lounge at Riverscape

secure a property

A spokesperson for Legal And General Affordable Homes said: “The amenities at East River Wharf are best in class, with a state-of-the-art residents’ gym, pool and spa. 

“Plus, concierge services and 24-hour security ensure our residents always feel at home. 

“There is also a primary school located on the development, which is perfect for growing families.

“Whatever your stage in life, East River Wharf is a modern and secure place to call home with shared ownership.”

Under the shared ownership scheme, buyers purchase part of a property.

They pay a deposit and arrange a mortgage to cover the cost.

They then pay a reduced rent on the rest of the property and the appropriate service charge.

Purchasers need not be first-time buyers but cannot own another property.

Owners can choose to increase the portion of the apartment that’s theirs until they own the whole property, in a process commonly known as “staircasing”.

Equally, buyers are free to sell their share either through the affordable housing provider or independently, if they decide to move home.

Image shows a show home bedroom at East River Wharf
Properties at East River Wharf start at £96,875 for a 25% share

key details: East River Wharf

East River Wharf is located at the Riverscape development beside Royal Wharf.

The closest transport link is West Silvertown DLR station on nearby North Woolwich Road.

Prices for a one-bed start at £96,875 for a 25% share.

Call 020 587 2474 for more details.

Find out more about the scheme here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Fairview set to launch homes at The Silverton and One Goodmayes

Developer will unveil schemes in Royal Docks and Seven Kings, benefiting from wider regeneration

Image shows The Silverton by Fairview, a grey brick block of flats with trees in the foreground
An artist’s impression of The Silverton by Fairview New Homes

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Alongside the attractions of an area and the specific amenities at an individual development, uppermost in buyers’ minds is a question – how smart am I being, placing my capital in this place? 

While none of us are capable of foretelling the future – who in the early 1980s, for example could have predicted the rise and success of Canary Wharf – we can consider the likely path an area’s fortunes will take.

This is clearly something Fairview New Homes is keenly attuned to as a developer.

Its Dock28 scheme in Woolwich, for instance, is well located for buyers to take advantage of the plethora of improvements that have arrived locally via neighbouring projects as well as those still in the pipeline.

It’s a theme that certainly flows into the company’s next development launch in June.

Image shows a computer generated scene of a roof terrace with plants in raised beds and views over the Thames in London
An artist’s impression of the roof terrace at The Silverton

Fairview prepares to launch The Silverton

The Silverton is a collection of 78 one, two, three and four bedroom apartments located just south of North Woolwich Road.

This means residents will benefit both from nearby Thames Barrier Park, but also the amenities of Royal Wharf – an extensive swathe of development by Ballymore, which boasts a pub, a pharmacy, shops, restaurants, cafes and a pier for Uber Boat By Thames Clippers River Bus services. 

The Silverton is also close to Ballymore’s UNEX site, which is expected to be developed in the coming years – part of the wider multi-billion pound regeneration of the Royal Docks.

Set to launch on June 1, 2024, Fairview’s scheme offers prices starting at £400,000, with all homes featuring private terraces, balconies or winter gardens. 

The scheme also boasts landscaped podium gardens, with some apartments also able to access a roof terrace on the ninth floor with views over the Thames.

Fairview New Homes sales manager, Sohail Saiyed, said: “The Royal Docks is one of London’s most exciting new neighbourhoods, with a huge amount of money invested in the area and more to come in the short and long-term future. 

“There’s already a thriving community here along with excellent transport links and all the amenities you could need.

“With average flat prices in the Royal Docks sitting at around £460,000, The Silverton represents real value with our homes starting at just £400,000. 

“We also work with a number of schemes such as Deposit Unlock and Own New to help give first-time buyers that little boost they might need to purchase.

“While we’ve always prided ourselves on primarily helping first-time buyers onto the ladder, with a wide range of different specifications, we’ve truly got something for everyone at The Silverton and with further regeneration planned in the coming years, buying in the area makes for a sound investment.”

The Silverton is located within easy walking distance of pontoon Dock and London City Airport DLR stations offering rapid connections to the City, Canary Wharf and Woolwich.

A computer generated image of Fairview New Homes' One Goodmayes scheme showing blocks of brick-clad apartments and landscaped gardens
An artist’s impression of One Goodmayes by Fairview New Homes

developer set to launch One Goodmayes

The Silverton isn’t the only development that Fairview is set to launch next month.

The company’s One Goodmayes scheme will be unveiled at an event on June 22, 2024, and aims to attract buyers east along the Elizabeth Line.

Located between Seven Kings and Goodmayes stations – a seven-minute walk east or west, respectively, the development will see a total of 102 new homes built

Studios, one-beds and two-beds will all be available, with prices starting at £275,000.

Each property comes with a private balcony or terrace and fully fitted kitchens with integrated appliances.

There’s also a communal roof terrace with views over London’s skyline for residents to access.

Sohail said: “Situated at the heart of the Crossrail corridor, Goodmayes is a rapidly up-and-coming neighbourhood with buying prospects rivalling the likes of neighbouring Stratford. 

“Officially launching on June 22, we are already seeing strong interest in the development from buyers and investors alike.

“We’re confident One Goodmayes represents real value in comparison to many other areas of London, without sacrificing on transport links or nearby amenities, making the development a great option for first-time buyers. 

“We’ll be able to welcome our first residents at One Goodmayes as early as September this year.” 

Locally, the area is surrounded by parks including Seven Kings and Goodmayes as well as South Park.

There’s also an extensive selection of amenities including shops, bars, restaurants and supermarkets.

The development’s proximity to the Elizabeth Line means residents can expect journeys of less than 30 minutes to Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street once at Seven Kings station.

That location also means direct access to areas such as Farringdon, Soho, Oxford Street and Paddington.

One Goodmayes is located between Goodmayes and Seven Kings stations on the Elizabeth Line

more on Fairview New Homes’ launches

The Silverton is set to launch on June 1, 2024, with prospective buyers able to book viewings and enjoy a glass of Champagne as they see what’s on offer.

Email silvertown.sales@fairview.co.uk or call 020 8131 4030 for more details.

One Goodmayes’ launch event will take place on June 22, 2024.

Email goodmayes.sales@fairview.co.uk or call 020 3603 2533 for more details.

Find out more about the developer’s projects here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Sweheat Sauna in Royal Docks plans growth for the summer

Royal Victoria Dock installation is at Expressway, next to City Hall and is owned by Victoria Maddox

Four women in bathing costumes chat on wooden benches in a sauna
Women enjoy a sauna in “Dunck” at Royal Docks

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Sadiq Khan has another four years as Mayor Of London and doubtless, a long list of things to attend to from his base at City Hall at The Crystal in Royal Docks.

One way to tackle that stress might be to pay a visit to near neighbour Sweheat Sauna, a mostly open-air installation just outside Expressway on the edge of Royal Victoria Dock.  

While Sadiq’s popularity has won him a record third term in office, demand for Sweheat’s services is also growing with a second sauna and a plunge pool both set to arrive on site in mid-June, boosting capacity from its existing 12-seat facility. 

There’s also talk of a hot tub, should Sadiq prefer to support a growing business by immersing himself in a warmth beyond that of the London electorate.

The whole installation is the work of sauna activist and entrepreneur Victoria Maddox.

Having discovered a passion for the waterways of east London while working at the Alfred Le Roy cocktail barge in Hackney Wick and as a gardener at ecological regeneration project Cody Dock, she had her first wood-fired sauna in a converted horse box on the banks of the River Lea. 

“It was called Warmth and was owned by women who wanted me to get naked before wrapping me in a bundle of leaves – it was 100ºC, right on the edge of the river,” said Victoria. 

“Working at Cody Dock was quite a different environment from where I live in Croydon – it broadened my horizons a lot.

“There we were, taking saunas and throwing buckets of cold water over each other.”

Image shows Victoria Maddox, a blonde woman with blue eyes who owns Sweheat Sauna
Owner of Sweheat Sauna, Victoria MAddox

on a journey

Hooked, she joined the owners and helped take the sauna to Brighton in 2018.

Its success and the growing interest in wood-fired sauna, led her and others to create the British Sauna Society – originally a Facebook group that became a not-for-profit organisation in 2020 aimed at developing and promoting sauna culture in the UK.

Before this, however, Victoria had already acquired the sauna that stands in Royal Docks today for her first company, Nature Spa.

“Dunck” started life as a horse sauna in Nottinghamshire – built in Germany to aid the animals’ recovery after races.

But with its four-legged clients less than keen,  it had become a toasty hangout for stable hands and was up for sale on eBay. 

Once bought and converted for human use over the pandemic, Dunck entered service touring to Warleigh Weir near Bath, the town of Glastonbury, Gloucestershire, Cornwall and Dorset.

Spells at Community Sauna Baths in Hackney Wick (where Victoria was a founding board member) and the New Docklands Steam Baths in Canning Town followed before relocation to Royal Victoria Dock when Sweheat opened up 10 months ago.

“We are an arts and culture facility – our sauna can be used as an amphitheatre – a crossover between a space to relax and a place of entertainment,” said Victoria.

“We have a wonderful list of events, but in between that, what I like to do here is to get people to enjoy their natural experience close to the lovely water of the dock – there’s an energy that makes everything so much more relaxed here.

“It’s grounded and it’s not pretentious. Social pressures should be off when we’re in the sauna, so I tell people when they come in that it’s not about endurance, it’s about enjoyment – that they should make themselves at home.

“There’s even a kettle, so they can make a cup of tea.

“People do chill out and have conversations – then, after 90 minutes, it’s done and they feel a million dollars.”

Two men sit on a bench in in the Royal Docks facility wearing bathing shorts and sauna hats
Sweheat Sauna is about more than getting hot in a wooden box

free and healthy

Bathing costumes are required  at Sweheat, although clothing optional sessions are also offered.

“That first sauna with Katie Bracher and Warmth at Cody Dock changed everything – none of the other saunas I’d had before this really did it for me,” said Victoria.

“It gave me a different perspective – seeing people I worked with running around naked.

“Having a sauna session is an investment in health and wellness, primarily because it de-stresses you.

“Secondly, and what most people don’t understand about sauna is that it’s a sweat-bath – it’s about detoxing your body and cleaning it from the inside out.

“Sweating pushes the muck out, so you couldn’t get any cleaner, even if you were to sit in a bath for hours, or have a really hot shower. 

“Sauna is the cleanest you’ll ever feel – have a sweat-bath and a really good scrub down. Your skin will feel amazing for days.” 

An image of the outside of Sweheat Sauna showing a green wall and a tree with a blue sign for the facility
Sweheat Sauna is located at Expressway near Royal Victoria Dock

experience and events at Sweheat Sauna

Sweheat, which is run by Victoria and her son Aron Rogers, offers the simple combination of saunas in Dunck and a cold water plunge.

Clients are invited to repeat the process as many times as they like during a 90-minute session. 

Located close to both watersports centre WakeUp Docklands and Love Open Water’s swimming facility at the western end of Royal Victoria Dock, it naturally complements their cold water offerings. 

Beyond that core, however, the facility offers a programme of events aimed at allowing people to experience different aspects of sauna culture.

These include a Full Moon Sauna Ceremony which combines the core offering with guided meditations, performances, live music and nature immersion.

Mythic Sauna features storytelling, while German-Style Sauna is for enthusiasts of aufgass, a practice that uses essential oils and traditional towel wafting.

There are specific sessions for men and women and Queer Tales For Queer folks – billed as an evening of sweat, relaxation and storytelling.

“Our standard price is £20, which is affordable when compared with a meal or a night in a the pub,” said Victoria. 

“Taking a sauna will get you some fantastic health benefits and you’ll feel amazing afterwards.

“I feel Sweheat is a bit anarchic – we’re doing something different and it’s all about how we interact with each other socially.

“We’re also right next door to the Mayor Of London. 

“Saunas make people shelve their ego a bit and allow them to connect more on a human level – participants can forge bonds of friendship and trust that might otherwise be a struggle to create.

“This is the first sauna I’ve operated on my own and it feels fabulous.

“Every day is perfect for a sauna.

“In Britain we have this mindset that you can’t do anything unless the weather is good.

“But sauna really liberates you when you’re very hot and then step out into the elements. It’s magical.” 

Three women in bathing costumes immerse themselves in a blue swimming pool of cold water at the east London installation
Cooling off after a session in the sauna at Royal Docks

Key details – Sweheat Sauna

Sweheat Sauna is located on the edge of Royal Victoria Dock beside Nakhon Thai restaurant on land belonging to Expressway.

Standard sessions cost £19.99 for 90 minutes of sauna and cold plunging.

Events start at £24.99, with booking for all available here.

The sauna is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 4.30pm-10pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10.30am-10pm.

Sessions at 8.30pm are clothing optional, with clothing required at all other times.

Find out more about the sauna here

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Royal Docks: How the London Blockchain Conference is focused on finding practical applications as the technology matures

Conference director Alex Stein and sponsor Richard Baker of Tokenovate talk innovation and efficiency

Tokenovate’s Richard Baker will be speaking at the conference

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Blockchain is one of those technologies that can be daunting in its vastness.

First conceived in the early 1990s, not much happened until 2009, when Bitcoin arrived and its profile rose as the system underpinning that and other cryptocurrencies.

Then there was the mostly art-focused explosion and crash of the non-fungible tokens or NFT market.  

But quietly in the background – while the hype has raged – bright minds have been carefully considering what blockchain might most functionally and profitably be used for now and in the future.

What applications does an immutable, secure ledger for practically any kind of data, protected by encryption and distributed across a network of computers, actually have? 

It’s that question which lies at the heart of the forthcoming London Blockchain Conference – a gathering of experts, companies and individuals.

Set to be held at Excel from May 21-23, 2024, the event expects to attract more than 5,000 delegates in person who will be able to listen to more than 150 speakers and dozens of cutting-edge exhibitors working in the sector.

“Its purpose is to move the needle forward on enterprises and governments adopting blockchain technology,” said Alex Stein, conference director.

“What we want to do is cut through a lot of the conversations, which tend to be about cryptocurrencies.

“The event is about how useful the technology can be and its impact, looking holistically across different industries and government – we want to bring everyone together to move those discussions forward and educate people. 

“We’ve held conferences around the world on this topic but last year we made the decision to find a home in London.

“It makes sense because it’s a hub for fintech, finance and regulation, all of which are very important for the technology. 

“That’s why we’ve based it here and renamed it the London Blockchain conference.

“We want it to be the main event for businesses in Europe, and eventually globally, which will show people the practical applications of the technology – people who want to get together and talk about problems and solutions to them.

“This is the event for people with questions about blockchain to find answers – perhaps you’re the person who has been tasked with looking into a solution for your company or you’re a CEO or founder who would like to know more.

“The event is an amazing opportunity to be at the forefront of the technology and to meet people from startups, scaleups, investors and big companies.”

London Blockchain Conference director Alex Stein

One of those individuals will be Richard Baker, founder and CEO at conference sponsor Tokenovate.

He’s an electronics and telecommunications engineer by background and a self confessed lover of low-level engineering – good products and good systems, as he puts it.

“As a technologist, I always look at things through that lens,” said Richard.

“As an exhibitor of applications on blockchain I think the conference is at the heart of what London has always been really excellent at – curating the many faces of financial service offerings both nationally and internationally. 

“Tokenovate specialises in derivative trading  – we’ve built the next generation life cycle engine. 

“It’s a platform for how derivatives are getting tokenised, expressed as smart contracts and executing their life-cycle events on a blockchain. 

“There is no doubt in my mind of the journey that’s under way in financial services – not just in London, but globally.

“We’re seeing something in the order of $16trillion of assets expected to be tokenised in the next five to 10 years – land, property, commercial real estate, bonds and more. 

“This is probably one of the most exciting financial services transformations we have seen in 40 years – a real overhaul – and the economics that go with it as we adopt this new way of expressing value and building products.

“This conference touches on a lot of those really important characteristics.    

“In my humble opinion, blockchain has been one of the slowest technologies to come to market.

“It’s been more than 15 years and there has been a lot of misdirection with the journey of cryptocurrencies – but now we’re seeing businesses and organisations around the world look at it as an infrastructure technology, really focusing on its utility value.

“That’s what this conference is about.”

Both Alex and Richard agree that the potential for the technology is huge, making discussion of its implications and regulation essential.

“It’s fantastic to have people like Richard at the forefront to push the boundaries of what this technology can do,” said Alex.

“There are so many sectors that can be touched by blockchain, such as supply chains and healthcare as well as local and national government.

“There are so many opportunities and we want people to be able to see how blockchain can be a part of their digital transformation.

The conference is taking place at Excel in Royal Docks

“The point of the technology is to make things quicker, cheaper and better. What blockchain gives you in terms of its scalability, speed and stability will eventually change the world.

“It will become the plumbing that everyone expects to be in place and relies on to do business. In 10 years we’ll talk about it in less depth because it will be there.”

Richard added: “As a technologist, I often think in terms of 100 years.

“We’re only 30 or 40 years into a meaningful part of the digital age.

“Built into Tim Berners- Lee’s World Wide Web protocol is the fact that the internet was conceived as a medium of exchange for data but not money.

“There has always been a gap for the right financial system to be plugged in and that’s part of the journey we’re on in society. 

“Crypto has been a use case for the technology – it’s animated how smart contracts work, tokenising things and what a modern marketplace could look like and it’s certainly accelerated G20 regulators looking at blockchain and asking how it will apply to traditional instruments.

“I also echo what Alex says, that as a society we’re increasingly looking for provenance.

“In food, for example, using blockchain as an immutable, time-stamped record keeper, you could know when something was pulled out of the ground, when it was shipped, what the weather conditions were like and who the farmer was.

“I’m sorry to say this but we do live in a world where trust is being increasingly re-sought.

“We have a lot of disinformation and immutable record keeping is one mechanism we can use to help us re-establish that trust. I think it has an important role to play.”

The conference is pitched at all levels with the aim of including as many organisations as possible, so there’s very much a place for those whose understanding of the technology is rudimentary.

“On day one in the morning, we host a session called Blockchain 101,” said Alex. “We also have a session on what a smart contract is and so on.

“We’re located two minutes and 57 seconds from Canary Wharf or 14 minutes from Tottenham Court Road – there’s a whole expo floor and so much content and networking to get involved with.

“I just love bringing people together, out of the office, for face-to-face conversations.

“There will also be a fantastic, informal drinks reception on the first night, which will be really lively. 

“Having lived through the pandemic, when conferences were digital, it’s great to be hosting live events.

“Before the Elizabeth Line was in place, Excel used to feel a little out of the way but now it’s so well connected to the rest of London.

“Our event will take place in its dedicated conference centre, which is perfect for the kind of programme we’re hosting – although we’re certainly looking to the future and will perhaps one day occupy one of its halls.”

Anyone interested in exhibiting at the London Blockchain Conference or participating in its event can find full listings and information online.

Excel is easily reached from Canary Wharf in less than three minutes via the Elizabeth Line

WHAT’S ON

There’s a wealth of potential topics, but what can delegates expect from the event at Excel in May?

“We’ve got seven content-led tracks across three stages, our visionary stage, our big keynote stage and our inside stage – meant for panel-led discussions,” said Alex. 

“There’s also our spotlight stage out on the exhibition floor, so there’s great variation in what’s on offer.

“We’ll have session on the regulatory side of things, blockchain and AI plus blockchain and the Internet Of Things.

“We’ll be looking at business cases and opportunities to innovate in all of these areas.”

In addition to Richard, confirmed speakers include representatives from Channel 4,  nChain, Business Kitz, Ayre Ventures, BSV Blockchain, Project Babbage, Gate2Chain and Family Office Venture Capital.

—–

key details

The London Blockchain Conference is set to take place at Excel in Royal Docks over three days from May 21-23, 2024.

Excel is easily accessed via Custom House station on the Elizabeth Line (less than three minutes from Canary Wharf) or Prince Regent DLR.

Networking tickets for the event cost £49, while three-day delegate passes are £399. VIP access costs £799.

Group discounts are available for those buying three or more conference passes.

Find out more about the London Blockchain Conference here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Property: How Ballymore is continuing to transform Royal Docks and east London

New homes at Riverscape’s The Pearsall building launch as Brian De’ath gives us insight into the firm’s extensive array of future schemes

The Pearsall building at Ballymore’s Riverscape scheme has launched

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Brian De’ath looks at home.

We’re sat in front of the frankly huge, gold-framed plate glass windows in a show apartment in The Pearsall building at Ballymore’s Riverscape scheme.

The effect of this expansive, considered glazing is to portion up the apartment’s views over the Thames of east and south-east London into gilt-edged postcards of a vibrant, ever-changing city and skyline.

It’s a part of the capital Brian’s career in property has deeply intertwined with.

Working for the likes of Berkeley Group, Mount Anvil and Canary Wharf Group, he’s helped countless buyers find new homes here, at developments up and down the river. 

It would be fair to say while those developers have built the structures that have transformed Docklands, his job has been to convince house hunters to live in them, helping to create the emerging communities which have replaced industrial decline. 

He joined Ballymore a little over seven months ago as managing director of sales and marketing and is relishing the opportunity to work on its existing schemes and a rich pipeline. 

Ballymore managing director of sales and marketing, Brian De’ath

“Our industry is very small – people bump into each other all the time – so I got to know my predecessor, Jenny Steen, over the years and I’d always got on tremendously well with her and had great respect for Ballymore as a company,” said Brian.

“For me it was good timing that a position arose at a company I really wanted to work for.

“Looking at what Ballymore has done over the years, I’d been impressed with its level of integrity in terms of acquiring a site and taking the soul of the area into account.

“I think it’s in the company’s DNA to say: ‘We’re going to treat each individual project in its own right and on its own merits’, rather than taking a model and replicating it.

“Instead, the company asks what each development needs and what it can do to enhance the local area.

“I remember being blown away on my first visit to Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms – it was just so good.

“Ballymore was one of the first developers there and for the company to take that leap of faith and imagination was tremendously exciting.”

The Pearsall features large windows with views across the Thames

Simply put, the developer has built a sizeable portion of the east London we see around us today. 

In partnership with EcoWorld it’s delivered Wardian – just over the dock from Canary Wharf on the Isle Of Dogs – and London City Island at Leamouth, which included a new home for the English National Ballet and a vital bridge over the River Lea, linking the area to Canning Town station.

The latter has since been effectively extended as a campus, with Ballymore’s Goodluck Hope project filling a patch of land between the Thames and the smaller river with warehouse-style buildings and townhouses.

Going back a bit further, there’s Providence Tower and New Providence Wharf, Pan Peninsula, Millennium Harbour, Baltimore Wharf, Dundee Wharf and 21 Wapping Lane.

On the Isle Of Dogs, schemes at Cuba Street and Mill Harbour remain in the pipeline.  

While the company’s impact has already been profound on the shape of housing close to Canary Wharf, it’s also been transformational for the regeneration of Royal Docks. 

Working with Oxley, it’s Royal Wharf scheme has seen a town of more than 3,000 homes built beside the water close to the Thames Barrier. 

The Pearsall features open-plan apartments

The partners are currently building Riverscape – a development of more than 750 homes on a strip of land leading up to the river between Royal Wharf and the 100-year-old Lyle Park. 

Just launched at the scheme is The Pearsall building.

Located right on the water, it houses 137 apartments – with one, two and three-beds available – and is due for completion in the summer.

“It’s in a super spot with views across Lyle Park and down the Thames to Canary Wharf,” said Brian.

“You’ve got 100-year-old trees in front of you, with the park celebrating its centenary in 2024 and then there’s the river itself – imagine the sun setting behind the towers on the skyline with the water in front. It’s a great spot and we’re delighted with it.

“Historically if you’d asked me how close I’d want a building to be to the Thames, I’d have always said right next to it.

“But while working for Canary Wharf Group and selling homes at South Bank Place, which has Jubilee Gardens in front of it and then the river beyond, I learnt that having the contrast between the green space and the water can be incredibly special.

Properties feature built-in storage in the main bedrooms

“I get that same feeling at The Pearsall. I think it offers unrivalled value at its price point.

“The quality of the architecture and the interior design has absolutely not been seen in this location before.”

The properties feature open-plan design, big windows, built-in wardrobes, walk-in showers and high quality timber flooring. 

Part of the attraction for buyers will also be the prospect of moving to a neighbourhood that’s well established, albeit one with significant regeneration to come. 

This should mean improved access to nearby Pontoon Dock DLR, a new bridge across Royal Victoria Dock for better access to the Elizabeth Line and an expansive swathe of development by Lendlease as its transforms the land around Millennium Mills. 

But right now residents who move into Riverscape will benefit from Royal Wharf’s extensive offering.

That includes a 25m swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, jacuzzi and a gym in its Clubhouse, on-site security and a wealth of established businesses including a nursery, cafes, restaurants, a GP, a dentist and The Windjammer pub.

Residents can enjoy views over Lyle Park to Canary Wharf

There are also regular farmers’ markets and community events to look forward to.

However, to consider The Pearsall even at this level of isolation would be to do a disservice to the area and its future.

One of the key things buyers must consider when making a purchase is how likely an area is to be attractive in the coming decades. 

The Pearsall sits at the apex of a scheme that slots neatly into a vibrant community.

This is located in Royal Docks, London’s only enterprise zone, which is currently enjoying billions of pounds of inward investment as public bodies and private companies work to regenerate land abandoned by industry. 

So those making a purchase now are likely to benefit further from such mammoth milestones as the opening of the nearby Silvertown Tunnel, the expansion of Excel and a wealth of future development.

Ballymore itself has two more substantial schemes in the pipeline – one on the other side of Lyle Park at Knights Road and another further east at UNEX-Thames Road, on the other side of Thames Barrier Park.

“To buyers now, we’re not saying you have to be pioneers at all, but part of the attraction of buying here is to be part of the journey that’s coming,” said Brian.

Glazing at The Pearsall portions up the London skyline into gilt-edged postcards

“Ballymore has the fourth largest pipeline of any developer in London and that’s incredible for a privately managed business.

“Knights Road will have around 1,250 homes, although the numbers may change as it goes through the planning process. 

“It’s got a lovely scale to it and, for me, it feels like placing the next piece in a jigsaw puzzle. 

“The east of Lyle Park will be fully developed and accessible to residents and the new scheme will join on to that – ultimately the whole area will be read as one. 

“When you walk around Mayfair or Belgravia, nobody thinks about which buildings were created as part of which schemes – people experience them as single places and that will happen here too.

“We’re also very lucky to have the UNEX site, which will be about 1,400 homes with some very interesting designs coming, including some for light industrial use.

That means an opportunity for great architecture and businesses – a small brewery, perhaps – mixing in with the apartments. 

“We’ll be creating large parks as part of these schemes too and opening up the river.

“We want to work with local stakeholders to do this because we see the value in it for residents and visitors.

“When you look at Ballymore’s investment, there’s no-one doing more in this part of London – it’s something we take incredibly seriously.”

Homes at Ballymore’s Goodluck Hope scheme at Leamouth are still available

ALSO AVAILABLE – Goodluck Hope

Ballymore is currently marketing properties at its Goodluck Hope development, a little further west along the Thames

“This has been a tremendously successful development by Ballymore,” said Brian.

“The scheme includes a wonderful mix of architecture with a mixture of townhouses, towers, low-rise buildings and a refurbished dry dock.

“There’s a grocery open there now and a bakery and cafe as well as all the amenities as London City Island. We currently have about 100 homes left at Goodluck Hope.”

A show home interior at Goodluck Hope

—–

key details

Apartments at The Pearsall start at £435,000 for a one-bedroom property. Completion is expected this summer.

Homes are also on sale at Ballymore’s Goodluck Hope scheme in Leamouth. Prices start at £425,000 for a studio. 

Find our more about Ballymore here

Read more: How YY London is office space fit for 2024 in Canary Wharf

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Royal Docks: How DAT Adventures hikes and retreats aim to help participants reach peak performance in their lives

Jenna and Julian Dominique have joined forces to offer physical exercise and coaching in east London, Yorkshire and Vancouver, Canada

Jenna and Julian Dominique run their business from Royal Docks in east London

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There’s an energy about Jenna and Julian Dominique.

Together since their teens, they’ve spent years exploring the globe from their base in east London – often theming trips around physical challenges or experiences – and all while pursuing different career paths.

Jenna, raised in Chingford, is a business, career and pitch coach with a complement of brightly coloured blazers and a speciality in public speaking and hosting events.

Julian, brought up in Leytonstone and Wanstead, is a fitness instructor, personal trainer, tutor and lecturer at the University Of East London, where, more than a decade ago he landed a job at SportsDock just as its extensive facilities were bequeathed to the institution by the American basketball team following the Olympics.

Having settled in Beckton, the couple have brought their talents together to create DAT Adventures

“We first came up with the idea a few years ago and did some research around it,” said Jenna.

“When you’re physically active – thinking about your health and wellbeing – you’re also more productive. 

Participants on an urban hike from Royal Docks to Tower Bridge

“DAT is all about trying to help our clients maximise their potential and improve their performance.”

Starting out with urban hikes from UEL’s Royal Docks campus to Tower Bridge via the Thames Path around the Isle Of Dogs and then venturing to Box Hill in Surrey, the company’s natural evolution is to take its founders’ expertise and combine them on retreats.

“We’ve always travelled – to Egypt, Japan, South America – and we’ve based many of those trips around activities such as climbing or swimming,” said Jenna. 

“Julian has had personal training clients who have said they’d love to do something similar but hadn’t had the opportunity.”

Julian added: “Many are desk-based or working from home, so I’ve been helping them with things like posture – but since Covid there’s also been a lot more on the mental health side.

“We know from our own experience that being outdoors in nature is great for that and from the hikes we’ve done that doing something physical and having tangible goals people can achieve is really good.”

DAT’s urban hikes take in the sights and some local history

This year, DAT plans to host retreats in Yorkshire, with participants tackling the three peaks led by qualified mountain guide Julian in June.

This will be followed by another in Vancouver, Canada, with a range of physical activities on offer.

Both will also include one-on-one coaching sessions with Jenna with a tailored action plan produced to help participants work towards their personal and professional goals – with follow-ups after for guidance and encouragement.

“This is a big year for us, with these two retreats,” said Jenna.

“We’ve spent time in both places testing everything so we know the areas very well and have made friends there. It’s something a bit different, not just Yoga. 

“Our urban hikes have tended to attract city workers – often people with startups or businesses who want to give themselves a bit of a break by getting out of the workspace and exploring.

“With those we’ve offered personal coaching during the hikes and that’s had a really nice impact.

DAT’s next retreat will take place in Yorkshire

“The retreats offer something more structured.”

For Yorkshire, that includes a full three-night itinerary with development sessions woven in around the hiking and the food – all of which is included in the price.

Julian said: “There’s a real focus on nutrition for health and wellbeing – we’re aiming to make the meals quite a big part of the retreat.”

The couple have teamed up with Michaela Hanna, a private chef and MasterChef The Professionals contestant from Yorkshire for their UK retreat.

“People need to consume the calories before they burn them,” said Jenna.

“The goal for us is to make sure we’re doing something really beneficial. What we’ve done already has been really good and the feedback has been great.

“For Yorkshire, guests will stay at the Three Peaks Barn, which offers hot tubs, a sauna, a pool table, beautiful rooms and has amazing views of the Ribblehead Viaduct.”

Julian added: “The challenge is to do the hike in 12 hours – we begin at 5am. I’ll be taking the lead on that.

“We last did it in 10 hours, but that was during the pandemic and the pubs were closed.

“In addition to meals at the barn, Michaela will meet the group halfway through the hike and provide lunch from her vehicle.

“After the retreat, I’ll always be on hand for anyone who wants advice on exercise or nutrition – they’ll also become part of my personal training community.”

This will be followed by a trip to Canada later in the year

Vancouver will offer a similar timetable albeit with an extra night and a greater focus on other activities.

These have yet to be confirmed but, alongside hikes, are likely to include climbing and paddle-boarding as well as an opportunity to take in some of the sights.

What is clear is Jenna and Julian’s passion for delivering memorable, productive adventures.

In essence it’s how they live their own lives and their business is an extension of that.

key details

DAT Adventures’ forthcoming retreat in Yorkshire is set to take place from June 5-8.

Places cost £850 per person or £1,530 for couples and include all meals, accommodation, retreat guide services and personal coaching sessions.

The retreat size is capped at 10 people.

The company’s retreat to Vancouver will take place from October 27-30 and costs £1,850 per person or £3,330 for couples and includes two meals a day, all retreat activities, accommodation, personal coaching and retreat guide services.

The retreat size is capped at eight people.

Travel to the retreat locations is not included in the packages.

Find more information about DAT Adventures here

The Vancouver retreat will include a range of outdoor activities

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Property: How Royal Albert Wharf has unveiled homes in its final phase

Collection of apartments’ release marks last chance to buy at riverside scheme near Gallions Reach

An artist’s impression of the final phase of Royal Albert Wharf

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A decade and a half ago, Royal Albert Wharf looked very different.

Located at the eastern end of Royal Albert Dock, with the curve of the Thames behind it, today the area’s 15-year regeneration project is approaching completion, with the launch of its final phase of properties.

NHG Homes is set to release 58 apartments for sale at the scheme in spring, 2024, arranged around a communal garden square that opens onto the Thames Path riverside walkway.

Lined with trees, this route also leads to a children’s playground overlooking the river.

One, two and three-bedroom properties will be available, all featuring outdoor space in the form of balconies or private terraces. 

Prices start at £375,000 for a one-bed with two and three-beds from £494,995 and £634,995 respectively.

Inside, the apartments feature open-plan design with Bosch appliances integrated into the kitchens, fitted wardrobes, built-in storage and separate washer-dryer cupboards.

The development also features a concierge service, a dedicated workspace and lounge area plus parking included as standard with three-bedroom properties.

The final phase is located right by the Thames Path

All residents get access to cycle storage facilities and the on-site car club, should they need four-wheeled transportation.

In contrast to buying a home off-plan at a scheme where work is just starting or halfway through, the majority of Royal Albert Wharf’s amenities are already in place. 

NHG Homes’ head of marketing and digital, Amie Triphook Cole, said: “Royal Albert Wharf has quickly become the place to be in the Royal Docks.  

“There’s a flourishing community of creators, businesses, young professionals and families who call this neighbourhood home, and with this final phase of homes, now is the last chance to buy a new home at this award winning development. 

“Our residents enjoy the perfect blend of riverside views, plentiful on-site amenities and access to lush green space, all within homes designed with active, convenient and modern living in mind.  

“I encourage buyers to enquire with us today, so that they don’t miss out on this last opportunity to buy in one of east London’s most exciting areas.”

Apartments are arranged around a communal garden square

Royal Albert Wharf already enjoys a wealth of local amenities with food and drink served by the likes of the Well Bean Cafe and Cafe Spice Namaste, owned by celebrity chef Cyrus Todiwala and his wife Pervin.

There’s also a monthly market selling fresh produce, street food, arts and crafts and plans for an on-site gym, nursery and a convenience store. 

The development is also home to a number of artists and makers in studio spaces administered by Bow Arts, as well as local creative collective Art In The Docks, which regularly hosts exhibitions and events.

Royal Albert Wharf is located within easy walking distance of Gallion’s Reach DLR station offering direct connections to a host of east London locations.

Royal Albert Wharf has seen extensive regeneration in recent years

It also connects residents to the Elizabeth Line at Custom House and the Jubilee line at Canning Town, both making for easy journeys to Canary Wharf and beyond.

Prospective buyers will also likely be pleased at the prospect of a DLR extension to Thamesmead, an area undergoing three decades of regeneration.

The connectivity already in place means Royal Albert Wharf residents live within easy reach of the cultural and retail attractions of Stratford and Greenwich Peninsula as well as Canary Wharf.

More locally, the University Of East London is within walking distance and Excel and City Hall are a few stops away on the DLR.

The scheme is also close to Beckton Gateway retail park, which hosts big brands such as B&Q, Dunelm and Pets At Home.

key details

There are 58 properties available in the final phase of Royal Albert Wharf.

Prices start at £375,000 for a one-bed and £494,995 for a two-bed.

Three-beds start at £634,995, which includes parking as standard.

Find out more about Royal Albert Wharf here

First-time buyers Nate and Bianca in their Royal Albert Wharf home

CASE STUDY

Nate and Bianca moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Royal Albert Wharf in April 2021.

The first-time buyers purchased their home at NHG Homes’ east London scheme for £372,500 with a deposit of £56,000.

“We couldn’t find this quality and this location for the same price anywhere else,” said Nate, who works in cybersecurity in Canary Wharf.

“I started renting in central London, moved north, then east and then, most recently, south of the river – I pretty much experienced it all over six years as a tenant.

“I decided my last rental experience would be the last – I’ve rented in shared flats, and on my own, and it’s never really an easy process.

“Buying an apartment is a big deal, but the NHG Homes sales team made every moment as easy as possible.

“It was probably the best experience of buying a house you could possibly have.”

Bianca, who works in the events sector in Woolwich, added: “We looked at quite a lot of properties but struggled to find a home that ticked all of our boxes. 

“We wanted to find somewhere that gave us access to open space, fresh air and was close to the Thames, as well as giving us shorter journeys to work.

“Royal Albert Wharf was the perfect fit.”

Unusually, three-bedroom apartments come with parking space included

Transport connections certainly helped sway the couple, with Nate especially impressed by his new commute and the development’s connections to airports.

“I used to travel an hour and 15 minutes to Canary Wharf, and now it only takes me 25 minutes door-to-door,” he said.

“I also fly frequently for work – travelling to Heathrow or Gatwick was such a pain and added hours onto each journey – but now London City Airport is very convenient and perfect for business travel.

“Knowing you’re half an hour from your front door when you land makes a big difference.”

For Bianca, the quality of the apartment, its features and facilities played a decisive role in the couple’s decision. 

She said: “The apartment is really spacious, light, and bright – the layout is one of the things that encouraged us to buy here. 

“We’d looked at quite a lot of properties within our budget and this floorplan was by far the best use of space we’d come across.

“It felt so much bigger than homes of a similar size.

“We were adamant about having enough space in the bedroom, which always tends to be the smallest space in a London flat.

“There’s also so much cabinet and wardrobe space.

“When we first came to view the property, we walked in the door and it was by far the best place that we’d seen. 

“I could picture us living here immediately and planned out where everything was going to go – it was such an easy decision to make.”

Find out more about Royal Albert Wharf here

Read more: How St James’ Bow Green development is at one with nature

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Royal Docks: How UEL’s Royal Docks Centre For Sustainability brings people together

Director Robert De Jong and his team aim to drive the green agenda in east London by convening stakeholders at the new facility

Royal Docks Centre For Sustainability director Robert De Jong

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On a dark day, it might be tempting to look at the state of the planet and be discouraged.

Globally we’ve had the warmest February on record, yet ministers seem content to water down green policies. 

Populist politicians and commentators bewail what they see as the madness of abandoning coal and gas.

Others argue that the UK’s emissions are so small in comparison to other parts of the world that there’s no point in making any changes at the supposed expense to our quality of life. 

Early withdrawal symptoms for a culture hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels?

Perhaps. But nevertheless the voices have become a potent lobby. 

The eastern extension to ULEZ hardly raised a peep when it came to Docklands.

But west London was a different story, with opportunistic politicians hijacking a poorly articulated campaign to target the Mayor Of London and, arguably, scrape a by-election win in Uxbridge.

There’s danger here. People like the status quo and yet, ULEZ has seen some pollutants fall by as much as 46% in its first year in central London.

That’s cleaner, fresher air – with around 290,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions prevented from fouling the atmosphere and contributing to the heating of the planet. 

Will this single measure save us? No. Not on its own.

But it’s a measure taken in a major capital city, that’s delivering myriad benefits.

This is a strong recipe for inspiring others.

The RDCS is based at UEL’s Royal Docks campus

It matters what we do here because the ideas and technology necessary to address the massive problems we face, need both places of generation and implementation.

That’s why projects like the University Of East London’s recently launched Royal Docks Centre For Sustainability (RDCS) are vital for the survival of our species.

Part-funded by the Mayor and Newham Council though their Royal Docks Team initiative, the facility provides space for projects, will be open to the community and will soon boast a “vibrant cafe”.

But beyond the, doubtless, sustainable coffee, it has another role.

Its task is to bring people and organisations together to improve sustainability in an area that’s undergoing billions of pounds of regeneration in a borough fighting deprivation.

“If I could have one wish, it would be that this centre has a driving influence on the Royal Docks, that the innovation created here really plays out and makes sure that this community and London itself become exemplars,” said Robert De Jong, RDCS director and the man whose job it is to steer the facility as it evolves and develops.

“We have a regeneration scheme in the docks that is forecast to grow significantly over the coming years and it should be sustainable.

“The centre’s role is as a convener, both for our schools at UEL, our research centres, the local community and industry. 

“Our aim is to bring them all together through effective programming and setting themes for ourselves. 

“I would like to see ambitious goals set for the Royal Docks such as the establishment of a clean-tech cluster so the businesses that come through here are really innovative and set up for the future.

“Also that the plan for urban design – the way the buildings are made and how transport and urban connectivity flow through the docks – is really low carbon.

“There’s a lot of talk about this but, when it comes down to reality, there can be stark differences in what’s delivered to what was mooted. We have a real opportunity here to unleash these ideas and ask what we can do differently.

“How can we engage with the waterways, the transport system and boost biodiversity as well?”

To address some of these questions, RDCS comes fully equipped with some powerful tools and facilities, namely a Sustainability Research Institute, a Sustainable Enterprise Centre, an Augmented + Virtual Reality Centre, a Renewable Energy Lab and a Maker Space.

The Mayor Of London, Sadiq Khan officially opened the centre earlier this year

Then there’s a Data Centre, a Living Lab, a Living Library, a Careers Office, a Hackathon space, Business + Community Tax And Law Clinics and more besides. 

It stands as both a physical connection to UEL’s schools as well as a conceptual one, aimed at spotlighting the work the university does and mixing it with ideas and influences from other organisations and groups.

“We take a holistic view,” said Robert.

“Sustainability means that we’re governing with an ethical outcome for society and the environment, that we’re thinking outside of our own jurisdictions and that we’re also really understanding the stewardship of products and striving to improve how we use resources.

“We can’t just keep creating pollution and heating the globe.

“We need to think about how to manage the whole balance of our ecology. 

“At the moment we’re at a certain rate of growth, so we need to ask if that is sustainable.

“The centre is based on a number of things – firstly collaboration and creation in the holistic sense of sustainability, driving it across east London, around Newham and in Royal Docks in particular.

“In a couple of years’ time, I would like to see this centre established at the forefront of pushing the sustainability agenda – that we’re able to make a measurable impact in terms of social outcomes.

“At UEL we already have great diversity in the student body, among staff and in our policies, but how far can we go?

“That’s not just looking at employment, it’s in the supply chain and it’s driving that wider agenda and our goal of a healthier planet.

“I’d like to see this centre become a catalyst for enabling these things and also to act as a demonstrator.”

Part of the three-storey centre’s mission then, will be to constantly shine spotlights on the work being done in UEL’s schools, while simultaneously supporting and showcasing the work of businesses.

“There is sustainability in each of our schools but it’s hidden away and we’re not always good at shouting about it,” said Robert.

“For example, the Sustainability Research Institute is doing amazing work on bio-based building materials such as Sugarcrete, made from waste products when sugar cane is refined.

“But equally there are fantastic projects in engineering and fashion too.

“Then there’s the wider ethos around our campuses themselves, with a opportunity to embed sustainability in the governance of UEL itself and to ask how we involve every member of staff in that process.

Visitors examine blocks of Sugarcrete, a new material made with waste products from the sugar refining industry

“We’re also about to launch an accelerator programme, starting with a small number of organisations with combined interests.

“We have a focus on fintech and how to develop financial technology and also on entrepreneurship with a faculty looking at how we organise training around creating a business and skills development.

“We can all come up with business ideas but in reality growing a company and overcoming the hurdles of finance and development can take many years.

“However, with the right support and education, firms can really grow successfully.

“We want to create cohorts through these programmes, but we also want to talk with external partners to run some of them, so it’s not just UEL.

“Key to the whole project is that the centre is a place where we can bring in local stakeholders such as Excel, London City Airport and Siemens, which is leading on UEL’s work to achieve net zero.

“Before, we were promoting the story of how exciting the centre will be, but since it’s opened, the dialogue has changed.

“People understand its principles and how we’re really striving for local impact, employment and engagement as well as picking up new ideas.

“Those from the community, wider industry and UEL itself who have seen the centre, seem really pleased with the space and understand how it is relevant.

“There will be entrepreneurs and scaleups based here, but people can also come for advice with clinics that can be used free of charge by locals from the community.

“We also want to bring in more international organisations – we need the whole mix to be right – to ensure that what we’re creating here is a framework of approach so people will feel this centre is a new space of inspiration.”

There you have it, a beacon of innovation in the Royal Docks, that people across the world can look to.  

Find out more about the Royal Docks Centre For Sustainability here

Read more: Why MadeFor office space in Canary Wharf is a vital part of its offering

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Royal Docks: How Atlantic Pacific International Rescue is training life-savers

Search and rescue charity has set up a base at Royal Albert Dock to deliver its on-water courses

Atlantic Pacific’s London courses are based in the Royal Docks

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Atlantic Pacific International Rescue officially opened its training facility on the edge of Royal Albert Dock near Newham Council’s Building 1000 this month.

But what does the charity do and what will be on offer there?

We sat down with co-founder and chief operating officer Kate Sedwell to find out.

how did it all begin?

“We started in the north-east coast of Japan after the 2011 tsunami.

“My co-founder, Robin Jenkins, and I used to work at the University Of The Arts London.

“I was head of international projects and he was part of the interior and spatial design team, which delivered academic courses.

“We had many Japanese students, so we had really good relations with Japan and used to send a lot of staff and students there, but there was a pause in that while the country recovered from the disaster.

“In 2014 we were asked to start sending students  and academics again to the north-east – where the tsunami had hit – to do an art project.

“We had no idea what was going to happen, but Robin went. He came back and said that they wanted him to build a sculpture in memory of everyone who had died.

“He said it was massively outside his comfort zone and thought it was inappropriate, because he hadn’t suffered any personal loss.”

Atlantic Pacific’s co-founder and chief operating officer, Kate Sedwell

so what was the alternative? 

“Robin said he really wanted to give Japan a lifeboat.

“My response was: ‘What? Where has this come from?’.

“He told me that a lot of people had drowned during the tsunami because there was no service to go and save them.

“People on the beaches could hear screams from the sea but weren’t able to help.

“Robin had volunteered with the RNLI’s Tower Lifeboat and had gone to a college in South Wales, which was famous for inventing that kind of inflatable boat.

“But when he asked people in Japan where their lifeboat service was, they told him the country didn’t have one.

“There is a coastguard, but people there have a different relationship to the sea – there isn’t a big leisure industry associated with it, so those getting into trouble are mostly in the fishing industry and they save one another.”

The charity trains people in the fundamentals of search and rescue

what was the next step?

“Robin came back to the UK and said that he would return to his old college and ask them if they would build us a boat.

UWC Atlantic came up with a very small RIB and UAL students designed our lifeboat in a box. 

“We used a 40-foot shipping container and they designed a crew changing room, a workshop and a boat to go in the end – it’s a one-stop shop for a lifeboat station.

“We sent the lifeboat to Kamaishi – a place that had been very severely damaged by the tsunami, which Robin had visited in 2014 – along with a team to train local people in how to operate it over there.

“This was the seed that started Atlantic Pacific and we still go back every year to deliver courses. It’s the first volunteer-run lifeboat service in Japan.”

what does the charity do today?

“We started working from UWC Atlantic’s base in Wales with students learning how to build boats and skills to tackle humanitarian disasters.

“What we realised while creating the lifeboat in a box is that there was nowhere in this country that you could go to train in search and rescue if you weren’t associated with one of the emergency services. 

“In 2017, it was clear the Atlantic Pacific project was becoming too big for us to work at UAL and commit to, so we took a leap of faith and quit our jobs to run the charity full time.

“Robin moved back to Wales to work on search and rescue boat building and we started to develop the London project.”

which is now up and running? 

“That’s right. We have a classroom and a workshop at Royal Albert Dock where we can deliver the courses that we now offer.

“We also have a workshop next door where we can tweak and maintain our fleet, which includes a brig that’s used for all our training – it’s currently moored at Royal Victoria Dock.

“Originally we were in Bermondsey, but we weren’t right by the water, so when we were invited to come and look for a home at Royal Docks, we did. 

“The water is very good for beginners – there are no tides or currents – it’s a safer environment.

“It gives you some stability to practise the slow manoeuvres, which are fundamental for being good at search-and-rescue at sea, before trying them in more challenging waters. 

“It’s a great location – well connected to our neighbour London City Airport, Heathrow and Gatwick, for people coming from Europe. Newham Council and the GLA have been really welcoming.”

Atlantic Pacific’s facility in Royal Docks

what does Atlantic Pacific offer?

“We work with young people in local schools and the reception has been really good.

“The curriculum is missing a trick in that it doesn’t empower young people to try out life-saving skills to see whether they would like a career in that sector. 

“It could be medicine or comms they find interesting, rather than being on the water – but this is a chance for them to discover that.”

“The world is changing and we’re only going to see more disasters – especially flood-related ones – and there aren’t enough people ready and trained to go and help.

“The London Ambulance Service, for example, needs more staff and the search and rescue sector at a global scale is massively under resourced. We need people ready to deploy.”

The charity runs a range of courses including Introduction To Medicine

what publicly accessible courses does Atlantic Pacific run?

“You can find full details of all our courses online, but we run a Casualty Care Course over three days, a Search And Rescue Fundamentals Course over four days and a Royal Yachting Association Powerboat Level 2 Course over two days.

“We also have a five-day Introduction To Medicine Course aimed at ages 16-20, which is designed for young people who are about to embark on medical or emergency response careers. 

“We work with instructors from the likes of the RNLI, IMRF and the Health And Safety executive to give people the best possible experience and grounding.

“We generally spend as little time in the classroom as possible so people get as much practice as they can. 

“This might be rescuing our ‘Dead Fred’ – a 70kg man overboard dummy – to practice pulling casualties into the boat or it might be learning to manoeuvre safely in tight spaces or tow.

“But it’s also important to learn practical theory. In life-saving situations, you want to know the right knots to use.”

Prices for Atlantic Pacific’s courses start at £375 per person.

The charity will aim to assist with costs if they are prohibitive for individuals.

Find out more about Atlantic Pacific here

Trainees work to rescue a ‘Dead Fred’ from the water

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Royal Docks: The PA Show promises a packed programme as it returns to Excel

Wharf Life readers can get 10% off full conference passes to the 2024 event with code WHARF10

The PA Show is set to return to Excel for its flagship 2024 edition

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The PA Show is set to return to east London with a packed programme aimed at personal, executive and virtual assistants as well as office managers.

The 2024 event, which is sponsored by South Western Railway Business Direct, will take place at Excel in Royal Victoria Dock on February 28 and 29, three minutes from Canary Wharf on the Elizabeth Line.

The flagship event, which has seen significant growth in recent years – with a separate autumn edition now a fixture in the calendar – promises a show designed to boost learning, skills and the personal networks of those attending.

In addition to an extensive range of exhibitors – offering services, products and resources to aid the lives of executive support professionals – the event boasts a packed programme of seminars across its five theatres

“The diversity of our sessions and the calibre of our speakers are truly exciting,” said Lisa Farnfield, sales director at The PA Show.

“We’re also thrilled about the networking opportunities that attendees will have, connecting with peers and industry leaders.

Lisa Farnfield, sales director at The PA Show

“We believe in empowering our attendees with knowledge, skills, and networks that not only enhance their current roles but also pave the way for future opportunities.

“This show is a catalyst for both personal and professional transformation.”

There are three ways for PAs, EAs, VAs and office managers to attend The PA Show 2024. The first is via a free visitor pass, which grants access to all exhibitors and the event’s Keynote Theatre.

This will host sessions throughout the show including Chief Of Staff: Top Five Skills Needed For The Executive Shift, where Sarah Howson and Marianne Whitlock are set to unpack the traits of high-performing executive assistants.

Also on offer will be The Power Of Adaptability, with Claudine Martin offering thoughts on embracing change as a catalyst for growth, and Menopause’s Impact On Financial Health: A Threat To Business, in which Tracey Louise Taylor will explore the issue in depth, finishing with a call to action for 2024 to be the year to confront the various challenges posed.

On the exhibition floor itself, visitors will find the likes of Toca Social, Prestige Hampers, Miss Jones Group, Hyatt Hotels, Flight Club and Electric Shuffle, Eurostar, Center Parcs, Crystal Corporate Travel Management and many more. 

Attendees are once again encouraged to explore via the PA Passport scheme, sponsored by Qatar Airways.

Visitors collect stamps from participating exhibitors, with completed passports entered into a prize draw.

The PA Show features a packed programme across five theatres

Going deeper, full access conference passes offer admission to all five theatres, starting at £149 for one day or £199 for two.

Wharf Life readers can get 10% off by using code WHARF10 when booking.

These include seminars such as The Productivity Triangle at the Key Skills Theatre where Kathleen Drum offers advice on navigating time and energy management alongside strategic planning.

At the Personal Development Theatre, Career Management – Why And How To Be Proactive About Your Career will see Joanna Gaudoin host a session on the significance of proactively shaping a role for long-term fulfilment.

This includes practical steps on developing a career and ways to gain motivation in making it a positive, consistent aspect of visitors’ professional lives.

A highlight at the Tech Theatre will be Fiona Young’s How To Make AI Your Superpower, looking at generative applications and large language models.

The seminar explores how attendees can integrate the likes of ChatGPT, Bard, Bing, and Claude into their workflows. 

The Office Management And VA Conference Theatre will host Maximising Your Potential Through Recognition And Reward, where Hana Gray will chair a panel of award-winning office managers – Caroline Rees Williams, Megan O’Connell, and Sarah James – who will offer insights and strategies for achieving recognition in the sector.

The event offers plenty of opportunity for networking

The theatre will also be the venue for Using Your Existing Network To Get Clients As A VA, a session with Caroline Marshall aimed at helping virtual assistants grow their businesses. 

 “Our aim has always been to mirror the evolving landscape of the PA/EA roles,” said Charlotte Fewlass, event marketing manager and deputy event director of The PA Show. 

“This year, we’re focusing on sustainability, technological adeptness, and career progression, reflecting the current and future challenges faced by our community.

 “Dive in with an open mind and be ready to absorb a wealth of information. 

“Network, engage in sessions, and most importantly, enjoy the experience of being part of this vibrant community.”

Find out more about The PA Show 2024 here

Charlotte Fewlass, event marketing manager and deputy event director at The PA Show

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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