Marks Gate Creative Cafe closes as funding comes to an end

PUBLISHED: 11:00 31 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:32 31 January 2017

The Creative Cafe is about to lose it's funding.

The Creative Cafe is about to lose it's funding.


Launched to inspire a community, the Creative Cafe closes today as funding for the centre ended.

Children making Christmas decorations at the Creative Cafe. Emily Tanner aged 4Children making Christmas decorations at the Creative Cafe. Emily Tanner aged 4

Artist Sadia Ur-Rehman, who set-up the project in March 2015, has run art workshops twice a week from the base at Marks Gate Community Centre, in Rose Lane, Dagenham.

Despite the set-back she is “hopeful” artists will be able to reopen the pop-up in the near future as she seeks funding outside of the existing network.

The project was part funded with £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund and further money from the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund.

She said: “It’s been brilliant as people have taken to the project so well, not just in Chadwell Heath, Marks Gate and the borough, we’ve also had people travelling in to take part from place like Chelmsford. It’s almost put Marks Gate on the map in sense.”

Sadia has run a variety of workshops, including key ring making, as well as themed workshops for Halloween, Christmas and the Olympics among others.

“I have absolutely loved delivering the workshops, alongside our volunteers,” she added. “There are so many memories. For me it’s having residents, who have been part of the project from the beginning and seeing how they’ve progressed and how their creativity has moved on.”

Her sister Shazia, who helps lead the project, added: “Recently my favourite memory has definitely been Shrinky Dink jewellery, but I’ve also loved marbling and printmaking.

“These are activities that I’ve done as a child and the feelings of nostalgia are ones that can’t be matched anywhere else.”

A Chinese New Year workshop last Friday and a party yesterday celebrated the end of the workshops at the arts hub.

Assistant artist, Carla Ferrari, said: “The best part of the cafe is the people who come, from the cute babies that crawl in between chairs and people’s legs to our oldest and wisest visitors. It makes my Latino heart feel warm and fuzzy to see people come back time and time again.

“We hope this is not the end, but it may take us some time to get the funding to come back to Marks Gate. It would be sad for us to end like this.” Visit to help.

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