The Platform Cafe in Loughborough Junction is halfway through its crowdfunding campaign to refurbish the cafe as part of Mayor of London’s Back to Business scheme
It is raising money to continue supporting its local community and wants to give the cafe a facelift to expand its capacity, building on the community spirit which surrounds the cafe and Loughborough Farm.
Funds raised will be used to refurbish the cafe building both inside and out.
A kiosk and canopy outside the main building will serve takeaways safely in a Covid-secure way.
This will free up interior space and offer customers protection from the elements when sitting outdoors.
The money will also fund improvements to the kitchen, allowing staff and volunteers to meet increased demand and develop the cafe’s plan to expand its online activities, further future-proofing the project.
With the cafe’s award-winning team better kitted out, more of the community can enjoy the healthy and nutritious food on offer and experience a welcome space where they can feel at home.
The fundraiser is part of the Mayor of London’s Back to Business scheme, designed to get businesses Covid-secure and adapt their online business.
The cafe sees an opportunity to bounce back from this last tough lockdown winter while, at the same time, helping the community get back on its feet.
Funds raised will allow the Platform cafe to continue to provide a much-needed community space hosting talks, workshops, meet-ups, events, training and supporting local start-ups and food businesses.
The refurbishments will mean the Platform Cafe will be able to get back to renting out the space to chefs wanting to get cooking again via supper clubs, guest chef slots and residencies.
The cafe opened in April 2017, serving vegetarian meals at lunchtime on Thursdays and Fridays. Since then, it has expanded and is now open every weekday, serving healthy vegetarian meals from 12.30 to 3pm.
It continues to serve the community with its free meals service and runs a “front-of-house” training scheme for unemployed youngsters.
During the pandemic, the cafe has been supporting many people experiencing hardship.
To date, it has provided 2,000 free meals to those in need, as well as regular check-ins through doorstep chats, phone calls and socially distanced meet-ups to combat loneliness.
During the peak of the pandemic, the Platform Café’s team of volunteers delivered free meals to overworked mortuary staff at Kings College hospital. In the summer they worked collaborated with Carers4Carers, the Max Roach Community Centre and Grove Adventure Playground to provide free meals and support over the holidays.
Johanna Gilmour, the cafe’s communications co-ordinator, said: “The Platform Cafe wants to continue supporting people’s health and happiness following on from the Covid-19 winter.
“We need your support to help us pay for improvements to the cafe building and increase our ability to serve our amazing community as we move into spring and summer and beyond.”
Cafe regular Jan Hegenbart said: “I couldn’t think of many other projects more deserving of support in the Loughborough Junction area.
“The team and the cafe volunteers have been amazing throughout these difficult times, delivering free nutritious meals to those who need it, providing meals to NHS staff, animating the local community, tackling loneliness … it’s always a pleasure to come back here.
“Best of luck with the refurb!”
Due to the success of the campaign so far, Power to Change and the Mayor of London have match-funded portions of the donations raised.
However, further donations are still very welcome, the cafe says.
They can be made via its Crowdfunder page