We have been speaking to Mark Cutter from the Gillow and he is very interested in our project. Mark has an interest in linking business with community to make things happen. He has offered us free use of the Juke Joint on North Road in Lancaster to run our Lancaster People’s Cafe events. This is a great development as it gives us a secure base and an anchoring point for the project.
Mark has also extended his insurance to cover our project so he really means business and (community)!
We had a trial run at the Juke Joint with our Scones for Syria event. This was a clothes swap and cake fundraiser to support displaced people and refugees still within Syria. We had a great response to this event and raised just under £600. It was a chance for people to see the venue and figure out how it would work for cafe events.
We had clothes swapping in the front room, along with tables and chairs where people could eat cake and drink coffee. We had a kind of cafe area in the back room where we served tea, coffee and cakes. Although the venue is currently run as a late night bar, we managed to transform it into a cheery daytime venue with tea and cakes and little children.
There are some issues with the venue that we need to address. The physical access is not brilliant and we need to address that urgently. The venue is a bar, and for some people that creates an issue. The kitchen facilities need ongoing work. On the other hand, this is a mainstream city centre space and that offers us a lot of social capital. We have a chance to build something in this space and we need people to work creatively and positively so we can make the most of this opportunity.