Tired rows of shops, marred by litter, graffiti and anti-vandal screens never look appealing and tend to be the site where groups of disenfranchised youth gather, desperate for company and the alleviation of boredom. This discourages other residents from frequenting the area: But is there anything that can be done to prevent this?
The rise of the community café - Small shopping parades all over the country are reinventing themselves: clearing away the litter, installing CCTV to deter delinquency and renovating shopfronts. Often space is found for a community centre, which – more often than not – includes a café serving hot drinks, cakes and sandwiches. Some even offer a modest menu of hot food opening from breakfast time until six or seven at night. It is these cafés that are making all the difference to the atmosphere of the community.
A focal point - When people can sit together and enjoy a coffee, it makes the whole row of shops seem welcoming and friendly. For some older people who seldom get to go out, save to buy their milk and bread, a café that is close to home and that offers a cup of tea for a reasonable price can be a lifeline, offering conversation, companionship and a much-needed sense of belonging. They can meet up with others in similar situations and make friends that they otherwise would not have met, as well as being able to stay in touch with community events that they might want to attend.
Deters anti-social behaviour - It is a strange fact that vandals target places that they think are unloved and unappreciated. Shop windows that survive for years and years while the premises are occupied often fall prey to being smashed – within days, sometimes – when they are empty. This effect is also seen in shopping parades that seem unloved by the residents. Having respectable people frequent the shops, and linger to enjoy a quick meal or cup of tea, can boost the impression given by the shopping centre, making it seem like a welcoming and inviting place.
Offers opportunities - Finally, cafés and community centres bring another advantage with them: they bring the prospect of jobs or even just work experience. Success, it is known, breeds more success, and a community café could be the first step to transform a dull and uncaring shopping parade into a vibrant and welcoming hub at the heart of a community where the people all know and care for each other.
We also offer a 3D planning service which allows you to make an informed decession ahead of the buying process.
To fine out more give us a call on 01823 218578