CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Fundraiser to help save The Map Cafe

Neighbourhood landmark also serves as a performance space and exhibition area

15 January, 2021 — By Dan Carrier

Map staff Niall Williams and Duncan Thornley

IT has always been more than a place to drink coffee with friends or indulge in one of the chef’s lunch time specials.

But for The Map Cafe in Grafton Road, Kentish Town – set up three decades ago – the Covid nightmare means the multi-use community space is facing an uncertain future.

The business includes a performance venue, music studio and exhibition area. It has also been a key player in the annual Alma Street Fair, one of the areas best known and biggest street parties.

But months of lost trade has now put the neighbourhood landmark under threat – so the owners have launched a fund raising drive to try and raise £30,000 to keep the business afloat until they can welcome customers back

Fundraiser Duncan Thornley said: “We have always sought to be a supportive, nurturing space for all, which is why we have intentionally held out on turning to our own community for help. Map, along with other cafes and venues, faces a serious threat of closure due to its inability to trade and operate in a meaningful way.

“Our business relies on people dropping in after the school run, coming to gigs, and meeting friends from other households to catch up. Without this, we have found it extremely difficult to stay on top of rent and other bills and overheads as well as support our freelance staff, managers and those not able to be on furlough.”

The business has employed over 500 people since it opened in 1990.

Mr Thornley added: “Throughout 2020 we have done all we can to keep afloat and even managed to open in a relatively normal way for a couple of months. However, despite all our efforts we now really need the help of our community, friends and family. Their support will be vital to helping us survive the first few months of 2021, which are going to be the toughest yet.”

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