Fount London is the kind of nursery you wish was around every corner. Sweet, considered and engaging for kids, it has only just opened for business in Westgate Road in Hackney – right opposite the Netil market. Nestled under railway arches, alongside a pop-up shop space and the delicious Italian deli and bar Il Cudega, it’s a welcome addition to an area with a shortage of nursery spaces, and certainly nowhere half as stylish as this.
Elena and Rachel run Fount London together, Elena with a background in teaching and Rachel in property and art. With Rachel’s eye they’ve managed to create a beautiful space filled with nursery goodies from Molly Meg on Essex Road N1 and a nursery ethos that meets Elena’s standards for education. They have found a chef who trained in Jamie Oliver’s 15 programme and an experienced nursery manager to run the show day to day.
The pop-up shop space which is offered to businesses gives fellow mums a space to exhibit or sell their goods and Il Cudega is the perfect space to have a coffee while tapping out some freelance work on your laptop, or to pick up a healthy Italian meal for the evening.
Frame also offers fitness classes for parents (and other humans!) within the nursery’s dining space after hours – perfect for mums getting back in shape and dads who like something different to your standard gym or five-a-side.
My small person got a private run around of Fount London and gave the tick of approval to all the toys. Now Fount just need to a launch a co-working space so London mums and dads can work on a flexi desk nearby.
Here’s Fount London in their own words.
Who are you and who makes up your families?
Elena: I am Irish born and bred, left for the middle east after university to spread my wings and lived there for nearly 20 years before moving to Hackney with my 10 year-old daughter a few years ago. I am ambitious and hard working. Reflecting on my educational experiences, I appreciate the immeasurable impact that teachers make on the lives of children. I try to be a role model that cultivates in my daughter an open mind, the knowledge and the ability to look at the world critically. Our families are a creative blend of urban artists from near and far.
Rachel: I am a Shoreditch mum of over 15 years, and have been living and working in the area since day dot, with my artist husband. I’m passionate about developing and protecting! Our families are a collective mix of urban cool creatives and innovators… who all love the East End Life.
What does Fount mean to you and how it makes you feel?
Elena: Fount is a dream come true for both Rachel and I. Through hard work, vision, inspiration, motivation, and family support we made it. We’ve created a family destination concept – eat, shop and play housed in three railway arches. It’s a fount of slow-cooked Italian food, retail pop-up shops from the local community and a cool urban children’s nursery. Fount makes me excited every day.
Rachel: Fount London is a creation I thought would never happen, having not found the right site for some time. As the mother of the site, Fount London loves to create, inspire and platform what exists within Hackney. Fount Nursery is the heart of the concept – creating a wonderful place for these little urban kiddies to grow. We are passionate about nurturing business and children! We want to showcase what is true to East End, and create something unique.
What is the key to organising your day?
Elena: It’s a rare person among us who doesn’t feel the need to get more organised. I consider myself fairly organised, but there are times when I get a little lax about my organisational rules, and there’s always room for improvement. I believe the key is a supportive network of family and friends who help you achieve your goals.
Who or what is your inspiration?
Elena: Inspirations for me have come from my mentors, in short anything and everything which is unique, different, better, more attractive, more efficient etc. Inspirations happen when we are willing to change for the better.
For me inspirations have come from books, people (especially my mother) and the environment. And not to forget, my best inspiration comes from myself. I celebrate my own achievements and make my own repository of successes and failures – the lessons for life. Each mentor has taught me something different and all of them have together made me what I am today.
Rachel: Life, family, people I’ve met along my travels, and most of all Shoreditch and the East End. There is never a dull day!