Matthews Yard seeks public donations for expansion plans

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.

matthews yard Logo 252 kbThe 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Given that the local council has withdrawn an old-style form of “crowdfunding” – subsidy from public funds – from the David Lean Cinema, the Croydon Mela music festival and Warehouse Theatre in the past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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1 Response to Matthews Yard seeks public donations for expansion plans

  1. croydonite says:

    Matthews Yards is the best thing to happen to Croydon in all the 12 years I’ve lived here. Set up in response to the riots, it’s a great example of what can be achieved if you put the community at the heart of your business. I’ve held an event at Matthews Yard, I wasn’t charged for the use of the space and as a result made over £200 for a local charity. I especially welcome the new space which will be offered free of charge to arts companies. We badly need an alternative space to the favoured halls. I hope we’ll see some more interesting arts activity in Croydon as a result. Matthews Yard, I salute you.

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