The Creative Cafe Launch
On Wednesday 1st April, 2015 we launched our Creative Cafe on Marks Gate after spending a month with local residents transforming the lobby area allocated to us in the Marks Gate Community Centre into a pop-up cafe, gallery and creative workspace. It has been a lovely process involving residents in the transformation, and enabling them to be part of our colourful vision. After much hard work and a real labour of love we were excited to invite people in to see and share with us the new space.
The Cafe was officially opened with a red ribbon cut by Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council and artist Sadia Ur-Rehman. Darren gave an introductory speech inviting everyone into the pop-up space. We had over 60 people attend the launch and sample our selection of teas and coffees and delectable cakes provided by local Dagenham business Avril’s Platters, make pom-poms for our growing pom-pom chandelier and share their favourite Marks Gate memories for our Memories Board all whilst getting comfy in Marks Gate’s new social space.
Our highlights of the launch include the positive feedback we received from many including local residents who were genuinely excited about their new space and told us it was the first time something like this was happening in Marks Gate. Another highlight that we had to share was MP Jon Cruddas and his attempts at making a pom-pom, absolutely brilliant and we loved that he got involved!
The Creative Cafe was envisioned by artist Sadia Ur-Rehman as a social communal space for Marks Gate’s residents to meet, share, discuss, get involved over a cuppa whilst learning something new and having the opportunity to get creative. This was summarised nicely by Darren Rodwell, ‘The cafe is a great place to meet new people, get involved in something creative, and just be a part of your community. I chatted with local people who remember a proud past, and who are also ready, willing and able to be part of improving local life now and for the future. Truly inspiring.’
The Cafe will be open on Tuesdays and Fridays from April till May at 9.30am – 4pm, then on Tuesdays from June till the end of August with a new free creative workshop on each day. We’ve got a fantastic creative programme of pop-up events, activities and workshops including a great selection of visiting artists hosting ‘takeover days’ once a month. Activities include printmaking to guerrilla gardening to poetry, we’ve got something for everybody! All of our events are listed here.
Here are some photos from the launch:
(c) Photo credits: Connie Taylor Photography