Thursday, 26 September 2013
The NANA Café
Over in east London, local grandmas are getting busy. The NANA café is a fantastic social enterprise that started as a pop-up in a Hackney pub and is now raising money on Kickstarter to turn a derelict Victorian lavatory into a permanent home. Founded by Katie Harris, the NANA Café is a place where women can go and 'get stuck into something that benefits the community, instead of being stuck indoors waiting for Deal or No Deal to start'. When the nanas aren't serving traditional home-cooked food: proper sandwiches, soups, eggy soldiers, scones and cakes to the local Clapton community, they're sharing skills such as crochet and knitting - and there's the possibility of a yoga class on the roof terrace, if all goes well with the start-up's funding.
'One of the most difficult things is changing stereoptypical perceptions of older people,' NANager, Yasmin Harrison tells me when we meet, 'There's this set idea that 60 is old, it's all Silver Circuits and senior exercise groups - labelling people in this way makes them feel older. Our nanas are really busy all the time, they don't seem old at all.' The cross-generational appeal of the café, quickly became apparent when young mums visiting the pop-up didn't mind passing baby over to an experienced pair of hands, providing them with the opportunity for a much needed breather and a nice cup of tea. 'I catch myself sometimes having a really nice chat with a nana and it bothers me that I'm only doing it because it's part of my job, it should be part of our culture,' adds Yasmin. Hence, the long-term goal to roll-out the project, have cafés everywhere and turn Britain into a NANA Nation.
The builders are in, and have started transforming the Clapton toilet into a fabulous café but the crowd-funding target hasn't been reached yet. Fortunately, the Kickstarter deadline is Tuesday 1 Oct, so there's still time to make a donation!
And, the NANA Café is always looking for new NANAS, I'm hoping one opens in south London so that I can volunteer, share my blogging skills and try out the homemade cake.