The church is part of a regeneration area which has attracted some national retailers and its neighbouring Kensington Library has undergone a £50 million refurbishment. It’s an ethnically, culturally and economically diverse area – with a real need for a space that brings people together.
With its growth in popularity it now needs a kitchen and café, to support the events taking place but also to attract new customers from the local area, as well as visitors, attracted by a historic and architecturally interesting building, and users of the adjoining library. After a lot of local research and consultation, a small group was set up to explore the idea of a community-run café, located in the church building. A small book shop area would also be included in the plans.
The pastor of the church, Rev Samuel Sarpong, approached the Plunkett Foundation to enquire about grants for community businesses in places of worship. With the help of a Plunkett mentor, the group set to work on a business plan, recruiting people from the local community and businesses to a steering group, and drawing up plans for the project. The café will lease the area from the church and so will contribute towards the refurbishment of the building. It’s expected that this facility will also attract more people to use the spaces in the church, bringing additional income.
The group was delighted to be awarded a £5000 grant from Plunkett, with funding from the Benefact Trust, and set to work converting an alcove into a kitchen and planning the layout of their café.
The café will attract a wide variety of people but comments from the consultation show that many users wanted somewhere that Black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups could feel a part of. It will also welcome young people and hopes to offer work experience and training as well as activities, games and a meeting place.