Vodafone in eleventh hour crowdfunding call to save Olympic project

Mobile phone giant Vodafone has backed plans by a small east London charity to transform a neglected London dock ahead of the Olympics.

The telecoms brand – whose motto is ‘Power To You’ – today named Cody Dock on the River Lea top in its ‘best community projects’ list.

The charity, Gasworks Partnerships, turned to crowdfunding website Spacehive.com after Games chiefs failed to deliver on promises to regenerate the industrial hinterland that runs along the Lea from the Olympic Park to the Thames.

Opening up the sealed Cody Dock, owned by the Newham charity, would complete a 26-mile pedestrian route linking Hertfordshire and Thames through the Olympic Park.

Currently tourists using the new £60m Emirate Air Line cable car will be unable to directly access the Park on foot or by bike.

The 150-year-old dock has been neglected for decades. But local campaigner Simon Myers hopes to create space for entrepreneurs and artists, as we as moorings for 50 boats and a nature reserve for locally grown produce. The area will also be boosted by around 75 jobs.

Myers is aiming to open the site, located between Canary Wharf and the Olympic Park, before the games start this summer. Over £56,000 has been raised and the charity is hoping the public and private firms will raise the remaining £83,000 through Spacehive.com.

Vodafone has joined Poirot star David Suchet in supporting the scheme, which is also backed by comedian Andi Osho and singer and activist Billy Bragg.

Suchet, a keen boater and chairman of the River Thames Alliance, said: “One of London’s most historic docks currently sits behind lock and key in a neglected corner of the capital. This brilliant grassroots project will reinvent it as a vibrant home for artists, entrepreneurs, and boaters.

Vodafone said: “Cody Dock regeneration in east London is a great example of charity regeneration.

“Charities help thousands of people every day, but not all the help they offer is direct.”

Project creator Simon Myers said: “We’re thrilled Vodafone has thrown their weight behind Cody Dock. We’ve got three weeks left to riase £83,000, but with the support of Vodafone and other locally-based firms like Siemens, IKEA and Westfield – we can transform this corner of east London in time for the Games.”

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