change for the Furnival
by Mark Lankshear
in 1996, by members of the Lopham Street Methodist Church,
in a boarded up pub, the Furnival Project and then Verdon
Street Enterprises have been working hard to reach out to
one of the most deprived parts of our community. There have
been huge successes like the Cellar Project’s work with
young people, but the shop and laundrette have closed and
the café will be changing to a lunchtime only service.
So what’s gone wrong?
from the Furnival’s management committee, told the Messenger
that the hard reality was that the café and laundrette
were no longer viable. When the project started they had tried
hard to find out what local people wanted and to work out
the economics. Since then more than 2,000 of Woodside’s
residents have been moved out and the laundrette is losing
more than £100 per week.
is disappointment as Neville Drive is being prepared for demolition
and the thousands of hours developing plans for a learning
centre there seem lost. The café was meant to be a
bridge into the community and has had its successes. Not everyone
is happy with the planned changes, some are fighting to keep
the café open and have drawn up a petition.
the Messenger that the ‘bridge has become wobbly’.
Despite attempts at advertising there are too few people coming
through now to provide work or training, or for it to break
even. The café will change to providing lunches, with
a range of different groups and Jane hopes they will be able
to use the kitchen as a training base.
not closing, just changing. The Cellar Project's expanding
work and city wide reputation has meant it has needed more
classroom space, the Yemeni Education and Refugee Organisation
is using the shop space to run a crèche and other new
sessions include an after school club. We have new energy
to get together with other groups to look again at what is
needed for local neighbourhood learning.”