Our Little Cat Cafe is run by the local community, selling food made from vegetables and fruit grown by volunteers in the park greenhouse. We've been running the cafe and food workshops for three years and local people love the fact we bring the whole community together, especially when we hold events on the neighbouring bandstand. But there's no indoor space so we've employed architect Sam Price (he grew up using the park and is now an associate at Foster and Partners) to design us an eco-friendly, beautiful space for people to gather. The building has wooden shutters that can be opened to create an airy, shaded structure in summer and a warm, secure building in winter. A wood burning stove will be used for cooking and warming the building. Glass panels in the ceiling will draw down light. It will be built in a weekend by local volunteers and insulated with sheep wool. Foundations will be replaced by bore piles which thread between maple and hazel tree roots.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Our community has been transformed by the Little Cat Cafe, and by food, music and growing projects run in the park. The park is in a conservation area, but surrounded by large estates. There are very few places where the community can come together, and the area is a food desert with few opportunities to buy fresh, healthy food. We've proved over the past two years that people from all backgrounds love to come together to eat beautiful food (we ran a Food Heroes scheme where 50 home cooks shared their knowledge and then everyone sat down to eat every Saturday lunchtime). People love the cafe where they can meet up with people and try different fresh foods cooked by our fantastic cafe staff (Thai food from Orn, cakes and soups from Monique and cakes baked by local home cooks). Our new pavilion shelter will give us a place where people can meet up year round, learn new techniques for cooking, enjoy a real wood fire and look out over the nature area as it changes throughout the year.
Steps to get it done:
The total price of the shelter will be just under £100,000. We are applying to Western Riverside Environmental Fund for £25,000 and Veolia Environmental Fund for £55,000.
Contributions by local people will be incredibly valuable not only because it will take us one step closer to getting the shelter, but also because funders will be impressed by the support shown for the project.
We will know whether we've been successful in raising the rest of the funding in November 2013.
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