Barking cafe and bar wins community award

The Boathouse in Barking. Picture: Jamie Wills

The Boathouse in Barking. Picture: Jamie Wills - Credit: Archant

A riverside cafe and bar in Barking has been recognised for its work in creating a positive community impact.

Customers in the Boathouse. Picture: Jamie Wills

Customers in the Boathouse. Picture: Jamie Wills - Credit: Archant

The Boathouse Cafe and Bar won the community award of the year for London at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Celebrating Small Business Awards.

The bar, which was set up in 2016, is a regular host of LGBT+ events, and has recently held events celebrating Black History and International Women’s Day.

Live music is also a major part of the Abbey Road venue’s attraction, including the promotion of local artists. Famous faces such as Sadiq Khan and David Bailey have previously visited. Owner Derrick Daniel, 56, said he was “proper shocked” to have won.

“The FSB is a big deal. I was really blown away,” he said.

The Boathouse in Barking. Picture: Jamie Wills

The Boathouse in Barking. Picture: Jamie Wills - Credit: Archant

A former boxer and carpenter, Derrick said he had always wanted to own a bar. However, much of the inspiration for The Boathouse came from time spent living in Denmark, especially the Danes’ preference for quality beyond city centres.

He chose Barking because his girlfriend lives in the area and he felt there was a gap its community culture. The skills learnt in his former professions - dedication through boxing, and carpentry skills - proved useful in building much of the interior himself.

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Tom Brundage, 65, a customer and frequent contributor to the bar’s music nights, said the cafe is a friendly local place to meet and has a good reputation for live music in the area.

“Everybody is thrilled for Del to win the award. It is deserved recognition,” he said.

The Boathouse’s FSB award, which was announced at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitechapel on 12 March, goes alongside a Chamber of Commerce Business Award and a Thames Gateway Business Award, both won in 2017.

Derrick already has plans for the future. His first ambition is to establish a brewery downstairs, and then a small bakery across the canal. Yet he says the secret of his success lies with others.

He added: “Thank you to the people of Barking and Dagenham. The award should go to the people.”

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