Today marks the 8th anniversary of our opening in Croydon.
Borne out of the riots, Matthews Yard was warmly received by local residents who were fed up of Croydon being the butt of bad jokes and sick of the negative stereotypes. We all knew Croydon was better than that.
Originally planned as a simple coffee shop and coworking space, our model and our space quickly adapted to the demands of local people. We found ourselves hosting music events, community meetups and art exhibitions. When all Croydon’s independent theatres were closed, we worked with the local community to create the UK’s first fully Crowdfunded theatre which went on to host shows by Mark Thomas, Robin Ince, Richard Herring, Sarah Millican, Josie Long, Bridget Christie, Jo Caulfield and many more.
Since 21st April 2012 we have worked with thousands of local people to host events and activities ranging from children’s birthday parties to stand-up comedy shows, from theatre productions to music gigs. From life drawing classes to art exhibitions. We have worked with dozens of local start-ups to provide them with space to trade and grow and we have provided well over 75,000 local people with a safe space to relax and unwind.
We have featured on the BBC and ITV news and been covered in the print media more times than we can keep track of. Our space and our community spirit are recognised well beyond the confines of Croydon. We have had reports of discussions about MY in central London, Manchester, Morocco, Sydney and beyond.
We have, for 8 years punched above our weight. We have overcome the odds of failure in a high-risk industry, repeatedly. When things have been particularly tough we have dug in and persevered and with the unwavering support of the people of Croydon we have survived to celebrate our 8th anniversary.
Sadly, on our 8th anniversary, there will be no music, or dancing. No pipes or drums and no champagne. As the lockdown enters its 5th week, the only spirit we are raising is our fighting spirit. To survive this crisis and be ready to host Croydon’s community again when COVID-19 is safely at bay.
Matthews Yard played a vital role in bringing the community together after the riots in 2011. It provided an outlet for creative expression and community activism. If you think spaces like Matthews Yard were an important part of post-riot recovery, imagine how important they will be as part of post-Covid recovery.
If you love what we do and want to see us continue to do it, in our new West Croydon home, then please buy us a beer for our 8th Birthday, pay it forward, or pay it back, however you wish to look at it, so we can continue to bring Croydon’s community together for fun times and celebrations in the future.
Thank you, forever, Croydon