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Jungle Electric leads movement to make Bow safer for women and girls

Jungle Electric becomes Roman Road’s first certified ‘Safe Place’ on the SafeUP app which aims to make women and girls feel safe, protected and empowered in all community spaces.

Jungle Electric’s owners, Christopher Tyerman and Alex Navarro, completed SafeUP’s Safety Ambassador Training course, becoming the first business along Roman Road to be certified as a ‘Safe Place’ on the app. 

SafeUP app uses a 24/7 map showing nearby safe places and trained ‘guardians’ that women and girls can call or visit if they feel threatened, aiming to provide a sense of safety when they are walking around the streets. The worldwide app is available for free and has over 100,000 members. 

Navarro said: ‘We’re in 2022 and we shouldn’t have to get certified as a safe place for women, all places should be a safe place for women and everyone else, but people move at different paces and I’m positive we will see good changes.

‘Apps like this are really important as there is a lot of ignorance surrounding issues like sexual harassment, so it’s good for improving safety but also spreading the word.’

According to Navarro, it was a quick and easy process to become certified. As part of the training, the vegan cafe founders learnt about points of contact and procedures to follow when situations like harassment occur. 

Alex Navarro, Jungle Electric barista, showing his SafeUP ambassador certificate.
Alex Navarro, Jungle Electric barista.

From its inception, Jungle Electric intended to be an all-inclusive space where everyone felt welcome. SafeUP focuses on providing a safety network for women and girls, but Navarro said that they want any vulnerable person to feel comfortable at the cafe. 

Although safety measures like these are more applicable to venues selling alcohol that are a part of the nighttime economy, Navarro said it was important to him and Tyerman to promote the importance of safety in all public spaces. The next nearest safe place is Hoxton Cabin cafe and bar on Kingsland Road, a 45-minute walk from Jungle Electric. 

We’re in 2022 and we shouldn’t have to get certified as a safe place for women, all places should be a safe place for women and everyone else …

Alex Navarro

‘We wanted to create a community space with a living-room feel. It’s really great when customers come for a takeaway but end up staying and spending time in the cafe,’ said Navarro. 

Contrary to the stereotypical vegan cafe customer, Navarro and Tyerman have a far-reaching clientele on the Roman. Even our local construction workers regularly pop in for an oat milk cappuccino and a vegan treat. 

They hope other local businesses will follow their lead and also get certified as safe places to raise awareness of the issue and take women’s safety into the community’s hands. 

Find Jungle Electric at 467 Roman Road, Bow, London E3 5LX. It is open from 9am – 5pm from Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm on Saturdays and 10am – 4pm on Sundays. 

If you enjoyed reading this piece, you might also like our article about fifty years of Pride in Tower Hamlets.

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