2016: Year in Review

Art by Nick Richards

We started the year with a full complement of concessions operating out of Matthews Yard. New additions Hoodoo’s Coffee & Eats and Theatre Utopia were finding their feet and building on the solid work of Brgr&Beer, Hoodoo’s Live Room and the Descart.es gallery in continuing to place Matthews Yard at the forefront of not only Croydon’s arts, cultural and food scene, but also it’s regeneration. A steady flow of awards and recognition in local and national press are testimony to the outstanding work being done by Matthews Yard and by each of the businesses operating within it.

January got off to a flying start with Saif being awarded Fellowship of the RSA (Royal Society of Art) for supporting Croydon’s tech and creative community and Matthews Yard being Runner’s up for “Best Independent Cultural Venue in London”, at the Dot London Awards. Our blog on “Cookie Cutter Regeneration” got lots of attention. Unfortunately we also lost out on hundreds of thousands in funding for the MY Backyard project when a joint bid for GLA funds which we were part of failed.

February saw us launch our “Sunshine Tax” campaign, a petition against significant increases in Street Trading License fees imposed by the local authority. By working with other independent businesses we were able to amplify our voice and secure a cap on the fees together with the option of seasonal licenses.

In March Hoodoo’s Open Mic night was attended by XFactor Scouts looking for Talent, having dicovered the event was highly rated as one of London’s best open mic nights. 

In April we celebrated our 4th anniversary and Leoni Descartes was awarded Fellowship of the RSA for supporting Croydon’s art and cultural scene. Through the power of twitter, we also managed to reunite a customers dog with their owner.

Summer was incredibly busy for all our concessions who benefited from good weather and a great selection of events. In July we hosted the hugely successful Tempting Failure performance art and noise art festival with Descart.es gallery and Theatre Utopia – the busiest and best trading day at Matthews Yard to date. We were included in a feature on Croydon in “i” newspaper “Croydon is ambitious, beautiful and underestimated

October saw us host the Croydon International Film Festival in Theatre Utopia for the 4th consecutive year. In November BRGR&BEER was voted best restaurant in Croydon in the Time Out Love London Awards and Hoodoo’s Venue were runner’s up for best Cultural Venue.

In December Matthews Yard was shortlisted for the Croydon Citizen Croydon’s best cafe award (voting is still open until 9th January, so please vote for your favourite spot, if you haven’t already. We applied for trade-mark registration and our shareholders voted in favour of acquiring The Exchange Workspace, based in the adjoining premises. The expanded premises would provide more than 12,000 sq ft of space for local creative and start-up talent.

Overall it’s been a great year for Matthews Yard and for Croydon. Working with our concessions we have fed and entertained tens of thousands of people with a diverse programme of theatre, music, comedy, film and arts events.

We will publish a follow-on post early in the new year which looks at our plans and priorities for the year ahead. We are currently raising funds to cover the costs of expansion through our loan fund. We offer generous returns of 20% on loans of 1,000 or more, repaid monthly over 3 years. 

Thanks for sharing the journey with us. Happy New Year.

The Art in this blog post is by Nick Richards who recently exhibited at Matthews Yard. He is available for private commissions. https://www.facebook.com/nickrichardsart/