Quilt created by the LGBTQ+ community group

An inclusive space to normalise sustainability

Walking along Leytonstone High Street, you could easily miss The Inconvenient Store – a “doing” space where the community comes together to rethink, reduce, reuse and refuse waste.

Hidden at the back of the Stone Mini Market refill store and craft beer shop, the community interest company aims to normalise sustainability, support the circular economy, and tackle the climate emergency.

With a packed programme of events and workshops supported by the North London Community Fund, The Inconvenient Store has been busy showing residents from all walks of life how to reduce textile waste with sewing, knitting and repair skills.

It is home to a sewing room, which is stocked full of material and yarn donated by generous members of the public. Customers are invited to use it free of charge throughout the day.

Hanging proudly on the wall is a vibrant quilt weighing a staggering 12kg, which has been lovingly created by members of the local LGBTQ+ community.

“One of our customers asked if they could form the group and use our sewing machines and material”, owner Adrienne Alher explained.

“There are a lot of inclusive venues for the LGBTQ+ community but most of them are related to nights out, and they just wanted to be able to socialise without having to party. We’ve been able to provide a safe space for them to connect free of charge.”

While coming together to socialise may have been the primary purpose for the majority of the 12 members, the group has developed a deeper understand of the issues facing the planet today.

Adrienne added: “They arrived with one mentality but left with another one. They’re thinking twice about buying new now and choosing charity shops instead, which they would never have done before.

“They will all go on to influence other people with information that they weren’t initially looking for. Not everyone who comes in here is particularly climate conscious, but we try to educate them in a fun environment without judgement.”

Members of the LGBTQ+ quilting workshop
14 February 2024