Youth clubs take over Well Street cafe for business project

PUBLISHED: 10:46 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:44 04 September 2017

The project aimed to equip the youngsters with vital business skills for the future. Picture: Polly Hancock

The project aimed to equip the youngsters with vital business skills for the future. Picture: Polly Hancock


Youngsters took over a cafe in one of Hackney’s oldest trading streets last week as part of a project teaching them business skills.

Members of the Morningside and Gascoyne Youth Club take over the NuDawn Cafe in Well Street. Picture: Polly HancockMembers of the Morningside and Gascoyne Youth Club take over the NuDawn Cafe in Well Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

The budding entrepreneurs from the Gascoyne and Morningside estate youth clubs took charge at NuDawn cafe in Well Street after impressing owner Kevin Jones with their stall at the relaunched market, where they sell homemade bath bombs and candles.

But before they got were handed the reins they had to win him over with a presentation. That included a business plan outlining their budget, how they would make money, where they would source products and how they would promote their venture.

When the Gazette visited the cafe on Friday the youngsters were hard at work preparing orange juice and hot drinks.

“It’s essential we equip them with as many tools as possible,” said Kevin. “Lots of the new blood coming to the area are seeing opportunities, but unless we equip the local kids with some skills to see those opportunities too they will not be able to get employed.”

The project is also raising money for a residential weekend for the kids and bringing in much-needed funds for the youth clubs – Morningside has to pay £22,000 rent for the community centre.

Nicolette Nixon, who runs Morningside, told the Gazette the scheme was more like The Apprentice than you might imagine.

“The market stall is a proper little business,” she said. “They’ve sacked people because they weren’t pulling their weight.

”Ten per cent of their earnings go into a piggy bank and when it gets to £10 they can take it out and put it in the bank.

“We’ve got a waiting list for stalls now, we could have three or four.

Julieanne Jenkins said she was amazed at the transformation in her 11-year-old daughter Megan during the two-day takeover. She said: “She was up at 6.30am, I said to her ‘you don’t start until 10!’ It’s given her much more confidence and she’s started making her own bits and pieces.

“For Kevin to open his shop and let the kids do this is fantastic, and Nicolette is amazing with the kids.”

Youngster Yilin He, 12, took time out of her busy shift to chat. She said: “We’ve been trying to be entrepreneurs and present ourselves to the community by selling things. “We’ve learnt how to greet customers and how to work with other people. It’s been really good.”

MP Meg Hillier also stopped by for a cup of tea. She said it was good to see the kids learning life skills and praised the youth clubs and NuDawn for the project. “It’s great,” she said. “I’ve been to the market stalls a few times and this is a great initiative.”

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