Burngreave Messenger

Issue 27 December 2002

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All change for the Furnival
by Mark Lankshear

Formed 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?

Jane Grinonneau, 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.

There 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.

Jane told 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.

“We’re 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.”

 

The Furnival Cafe