Life After Five: Short-term plans

In April 2017 Matthews Yard celebrated 5 years in business. It was our lowest key birthday yet with celebrations centering on a blog post and some social media activity. The last 5 years have been challenging and rewarding in equal measure but in recent months we have seen some of the most turbulent times yet.

In March 2017 one of our main concessions gave notice and ceased trading immediately, leaving us with a huge void in terms of events and finances. While a serious threat to our future in itself, this was compounded when a few weeks later we discovered that the building we are based in may be sold to developers, who intend to demolish it.

The loss of a major concession caused significant disruption to our short-term cash-flow, which was the worst it has ever been between April and June of this year. The second announcement, regarding potential demolition, dented investor confidence and caused several supporters to back out at the last minute.

Against this backdrop, the team at Matthews Yard are working harder than ever before to devise and implement robust plans for the long-term future of the organisation while ensuring we continue to support Croydon’s arts, cultural and enterprise needs on an ongoing basis.

Brgr&Beer have stepped up to fill the void left in the cafe. They have taken over the premises license, expanded the street trading area and expanded their bar to include a broader selection of bottled beer and 8 types of beer on tap. We now have faster internet than ever before, more board games and ping pong has made a come back. There’s lots more in store from the B&B family over the Summer. In the past 3 months, Brgr&Beer has invested more than 50k in Matthews Yard. They have provided funds to meet the majority of our debt obligations and funded all their own refurbishment work.

Naturally, we hope all our supporters and stakeholders will share the same confidence. We have a strong hand to play in Croydon and as you can see, Brgr & Beer and Matthews Yard both remain confident. With your continued support we can guarantee a bright future lays ahead, in or beyond Surrey Street.

Our short-term plans focus on shoring up the workspace premises next door to Matthews Yard. This is owned by a different landlord and would be unaffected by the demolition of 5-9 Surrey Street, if it goes ahead. By securing this premises and completing refurbishment work outstanding we can not only deliver our low-cost workspace but we will also secure a foothold for the future right next door to our original premises.

On the events front we are working closely with Theatre Utopia and Descart.es to define our future working relationships. Leoni and Jamal have each done an outstanding job in ensuring Matthews Yard delivers in the areas of the arts, culture and community initiatives and have achieved miraculous things with next to no resources.

We will be working together more closely than ever in the weeks, months and years ahead and more information on our short-term events strategy and activity will be made available later this month. We are working on an Impact Report at the moment which will focus on analysis of the thousands of cultural, community and business events that we have hosted over the past five years. 

With Matthews Yard pivoting again we need to raise more funds to cover our immediate short-term vulnerabilities and to secure the workspace premises. We also need to secure funds to help us achieve our long-term goals, which will be outlined in more detail in the weeks ahead.

In the meantime, we are looking for loan funding over 1, 3, or 5 years and are offering 10% interest in return for any loans made. Our lease in Exchange Square is valid until the end of 2022 and the landlord of our main building has assured us we have until at least July 2018 before any notice might be given. This means, it’s very much business as usual for us, but with the added impetus to start making concrete long-term plans, a process which is now well underway and will be the focus of our next blog post, in a few weeks time.  

If you are in a position to lend us funds please check out the information on our loan fund online at matthewsyard.com/loan-fund

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