Matthews Yard, the cafe and workspace off Surrey Street which has received significant support from the council and staged several events for the likes of Gavin Barwell MP and others in the Croydon Establishment, is now asking the public to donate money to fund its expansion plans.
The privately run business, at the heart of the “Portas Project” effort to revive Surrey Street, is now seeking what it calls “crowdfunding” – in plain English, donations – to refurbish an additional 100 sq metres on its premises.
The owners of the business say that the refurbished space will operate as a free-of-charge community arts and entertainment venue complete with stage, PA and AV equipment.
“We hope to make the space more viable for Croydon’s theatre and community groups by not charging them for use, nor taking a cut of ticket sales,” said Saif Bonar, Matthews Yard’s founder and owner.
“Our money will be made on the sale of food and drink only. This is a very different business model for theatres and should provide a more equitable and mutually beneficial relationship for all parties.”
It is an “interesting” proposition: get other people to provide your capital, pay no dividends, but reap the profits generated as a result on your core operation. Cushty, as Del Boy might have said.
Given that the local council has withdrawn an old-style form of “crowdfunding” – subsidy from public funds – from the David Lean Cinema, the Croydon Mela music festival and Warehouse Theatre in the past two years, prompting widespread concern and protest from residents, many of whom have already contributed to appeals or fighting funds, the response to Matthews Yard’s efforts from the local arts groups will be interesting.
Anyone over 18 is welcome to invest in the project. Pledges can be as little as £1, with donors getting their name painted on the supporters’ wall at the venue. Cushty.
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