CultureLocalLocal democracy

Displaced Bethnal Green coffee vendor reaches fundraising target

Bethnal Green coffee vendor Frank Wang reached his Crowdfunder target of £9,780 this morning. An anonymous £10 donation, the 277th contribution of the campaign, put the campaign over the top at 0:16am.

The funds mean Mr Wang can purchase the equipment necessary to reopen his stall outside Bethnal Green underground station, where he sold coffee for 15 years before run-ins with Transport for London and Tower Hamlets Council last year.

Mr Wang’s power was cut in April and he was informed he would have to move his stall. The decision sparked a community-led campaign for Mr Wang to stay, led by local groups Operation Black Vote and The Young Foundation. His story was covered by the Evening StandardVice, and the South China Morning Post, amongst others.

In September the London Mayor’s Office announced Mr Wang could return to his original spot. By this time Mr Wang had sold most of his equipment to stay afloat, and what equipment remained fell short of new width restrictions. Sam Dodd, a friend of Mr Wang’s, set up a Crowdfunder page to raise the funds needed for a new stall.

A £2,000 pledge from user AlexYip and an anonymous pledge of £1,500 were the largest single contributions, with most of the rest comprising of donations between £5 and £20. The money will go towards a slimmer catering stall, a new coffee machine, car batteries for power, new safety certifications, a fridge, and a security system.

Mr Wang hopes to be back in business by the end of March.


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Frederick O'Brien

Fred is a writer and researcher with a background in sustainable development. His research has featured in The Independent, the Evening Standard, and the New York Post, among others.

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