The Spurriergate Centre
Friday, 23 August 2019 | Joanna
This year has been all about collaborations. We've been working with York Fair Trade Forum on five summer stalls at community events all around York, but our biggest collaboration has been with the Spurriergate Centre.
The centre can be found right in the centre of York, and like much of the city is much older than you might think. The building dates back to the 12th century - you can tell from the surviving architecture such as pillars, the stained glass and the altar featuring Bible quotations.
Owned by the Church of England, the building was a church until the 1950s - last week I met a lady who remembers attending services there as a girl. Until July 2018 the centre had been open as a busy cafe and fair trade shop for over 30 years. But like so many small businesses, it fell victim to the economic trends hitting our high streets, and sadly the centre closed.
But not for long. While the limited company which used to run the centre as a business folded, the volunteer committee which manages the centre was determined it would rise from the ashes and by November 2018 the centre was open again, three days a week, as a pay-as-you-feel cafe. This re-opening was accompanied by a re-branding as "Spurriergate Meeting Place". A wide range of community groups use the centre out of hours - including Kitchen for Everyone, York which offers a twice weekly drop -in centre for the homeless, giving them food, clothes, washing facilities and medicine. York University's Foreign students group meet there on Monday evenings in term time, and while it's open you'll find mother and baby groups, knit and natter groups and many more.
While so many high street cafes seem to value your money more than your presence and you feel like you shouldn't take up their valuable space, the Spurriergate Meeting Place is open to all, whether you are able to donate 50p or £20. It offers a haven in the bustling city and a place to breathe, meet and chat over a Fairtrade coffee. Their food offering is wonderfully eclectic since they survive on donations from the public and from local branches of Greggs and Tesco's - so you might avail yourself a steak bake and a gingerbread man, some home baked shortbread or ginger cake from generous local home bakers. They even have a "Spurriergate Pantry" where fruit, veg and baked goods which are about to go out of date are offered in exchange for a donation.
We love working at the Spurriergate Centre and look forward to supporting them for a long time to come.
Our next pop-up stall at the Spurriergate Centre will be from Tuesday 29 to Thursday 31 October. We're open the same hours as the centre: 10-2.30. This will be the last pop-up here before Christmas.