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The exciting new plans for Croydon’s empty Maplin store

The exciting new plans for Croydon’s empty Maplin store
Mar 03, 2020 Shaking Hands 0 comments

This post was first published by My London on 13/02/2020.

A new town centre home has finally been secured for Croydon’s popular community hub, Matthews Yard.

The arts and community centre has been forced to move from its former Surrey Street home because the site is to be re-developed.

But it’s now been announced it will move to the former Maplin store near West Croydon Station.

The future of the much-loved community centre has been uncertain since it was announced three years ago that the current site would be demolished.

Last year, Croydon Council’s planning committee approved an eight-storey block of 55 flats on the site.

The not-for-profit venue was founded by Saif Bonar in April 2012 and he runs it with his partner Leoni Descartes.

The aim of it was to bring people together through art and creative activities and the centre has hosted art exhibitions with work from local artists. It also has a community theatre and has played host to a wide range of classes and groups.

Saif and Leoni have now closed their doors at Surrey Street and hope to officially launch at the new location on April 21 – it’s eighth anniversary.

Saif Bonar, founder of Matthew's Yard with his three daughters
Saif Bonar, founder of Matthew’s Yard with his three daughters (Image: Saif Bonar)

Saif said after having known they would have to move for three years, he feels excited about the new site.

He said: “It is about 35 per cent smaller than the current space but it is big enough to do something meaningful. We will still have a cafe and bar offering downstairs and an events space upstairs.

“There is a lot more footfall up there. We are not really sad about leaving at all now. Three years ago it was quite a shock but we’ve had a long time to get used to the idea.”

Saif and Leoni now have plans to set up Matthews Yard as a charity.

The Surrey Street site is being redeveloped into flats
The Surrey Street site is being redeveloped into flats

They have now set up an online crowdfunder to raise money for moving costs and setting up the new site.

This has already raised £8,000 of a £10,000 target.

Saif added: “We are excited about the future, we’ll probably raise our bar on the events side again.

“We haven’t had the motivation to plan our own events – we will have much more positive energy.”

Original Article Link: https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/croydon-arts-events-whats-on-17741150

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