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Empower Stapleton Road’s Community Cafe & Studio

It started as something to do with the space. It’s become so much more.

Space 238 is a thriving community café. It’s a place for everyone in the diverse and dynamic local communities of Stapleton Road to meet and share a chat and a coffee.

 

More than that, it’s become the community cafe. There simply aren’t other spaces like it for local people.

 

A comfortable, quality coffee house out front. Paired with a studio space more than twenty-six local businesses count on in back.

 

Space 238 has already grown into a staple of the local community. Now it’s time for the business to change so that it can continue to be a resource for local people in future.

 

Do you have the skills or resources to contribute? Or do you know an investor who would like to purchase the property and support the transformation of the business into CIC, run by the members, for the neighbourhood. 

What’s been gained so far

Space 238 has been on a journey. The current iteration started with a daily turnover of £30 (yes, you read that right).

 

Today’s annual turnover is more like £210,000. This represents a large and engaged local community of customers from all walks of life.

 

It’s a solid base for future growth. The studio can already stand on its own. With the right support, the community cafe can too.

 

Unfortunately, the rising cost of living and mortgages has exacerbated COVID-19’s huge and lasting impact. The current owner has taken it as far as he can.

 

The studio is back on stable ground. The cafe is within reach of breaking even. It’s there for the taking - and the making.

 

£210k turnover business

7 direct local jobs

26 wholly or partially reliant local businesses

 

What could be lost

Speak to local people and they’ll tell you they don’t expect “nice things” like Space 238 on Stapleton Road.

 

Some will admit it took them a moment to walk through the door. They didn’t think it was “for them”. It was “too good to be true”. Were they even allowed in here?

 

Now that “nice thing” could be taken away. On top of that, the impact would be felt by:

 

  • 7 team members - Space 238 is a flexible, supportive employer with team members from all backgrounds. Most have diverse employment challenges it helps them meet.

  • 26 small businesses - local businesses rely or partially rely on the affordable studio space to run regular classes, one-off events, and workshops.

  • Bristol’s rich culture - would lose a community space that’s used for theatre, dance, physical fitness and wellness practice by hundreds of people.

 

“Space 238... brings the richness and brightness to an otherwise drab looking Stapleton Road. If we were to lose Space 238, we would be losing a piece of what it means to be authentic."

 

- Anthony, local businessman and church leader

“It's hard to summarise what Space238 means to those who attend. For the regulars to the cafe and studio, I would go as far as to say it's been life changing. I certainly would not be where I am today without the support of Space 238.” 

- Megan Cowles, senior facilitator and clinical psychologist

“Amid spiralling rents and the cost of living crisis, Space 238 is a unique and essential space to keep arts and community alive in the city."

 

- Tom Bailey, actor, deviser, and theatre maker

 

“What I love about 238 is that it has always supported and enabled artists like myself... by providing an affordable space to make creative work happen and evolve. With the opening of the cafe... Space 238 has also become a vibrant meeting centre for the local residents of Easton, and especially Stapleton road.”

 

- Igne Barkauskaite - theatre maker, actor training facilitator, and musician

 

“What I love about 238 is that it has always supported and enabled artists like myself... by providing an affordable space to make creative work happen and evolve. With the opening of the cafe... Space 238 has also become a vibrant meeting centre for the local residents of Easton, and especially Stapleton road.”

What would becoming a CIC mean?

The most desirable outcome for Space 238 and the people who love it would be transformation into a not-for-profit CIC.

Being a CIC essentially means being owned by a group of people who run the business for the local area and the local community.

The model of not-for-profit business is a longstanding response to hard economic times. The UK already has over 7000 of them.

A transformation like this would enable the team to implement staff training programmes. Improve facilities. Extend opening hours. Create opportunities for local people.

 

It will empower Space 238 to become a community leader. It will also allow for decent wages that meet cost of living pressures.

How can I help?

A CIC brings together people with different skill sets and resources who share the load, making decisions about the business democratically.

 

What’s needed are people who want to contribute to setting up the cooperative. The kind of skills that are hugely useful for this will include:

 

  • Experience in business

  • Accountancy skills

  • Skills or experience in catering or hospitality

  • Fundraising experience

 

Then funding can be sought – from the Community Fund (150m pot), a benevolent investor, or even the cooperative members themselves.

 

Potential long or short-term investors to help the cooperative secure community funds are ideally placed to help here too. There’s little risk as the building will retain its value.

 

Even if this doesn’t sound like you, you can still contribute in a big way:

Share this with friends. Or quickly share with us what Space 238 means to you. A few positive words can go a long way. 

How to share: send an email telling us what Space 238 means to you

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