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Spitalfields community cafe crowdfunds in bid to extend its work helping needy families

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 July 2019

The Canvas Cafe needs �4,500 towards its �22,000 crowdfunding goal otherwise it won't scoop any of the money pledged. Picture: Ruth Rogers

The Canvas Cafe needs �4,500 towards its �22,000 crowdfunding goal otherwise it won't scoop any of the money pledged. Picture: Ruth Rogers

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A campaign has been launched to transform a community vegan cafe battling poverty and poor mental health.

The Canvas Cafe is hoping to raise more than �22,000 to give its premises a much needed makeover allowing it to increase its work helping needy families. Picture: Ruth RogersThe Canvas Cafe is hoping to raise more than �22,000 to give its premises a much needed makeover allowing it to increase its work helping needy families. Picture: Ruth Rogers

Campaigners at social enterprise The Canvas Cafe in Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, have days to raise the £4,500 needed to hit a £22,000 target.

The fundraiser has already gained £12,000 worth of backing from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, as well as 130 more supporters.

Cafe owner Ruth Rogers said: "It's wonderful to see so many of our community supporting this campaign.

The cafe holds more than 50 community events. Picture: Teresa HayhurstThe cafe holds more than 50 community events. Picture: Teresa Hayhurst

"Sadiq Khan's pledge was the icing on the (vegan!) cake, and a powerful validation of our mission.

"The transformation this project will bring will be game changing for us and our impact."

The extra money would see the cafe transformed with a new floor, better heating, improved accessibility and new kitchen equipment among the plans.

The cafe in Hanbury Street, Spitalfields has a vegan menu. Picture: Ruth RogersThe cafe in Hanbury Street, Spitalfields has a vegan menu. Picture: Ruth Rogers

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The project is part of Crowdfund London - a programme from the mayor and Spacehive, which backs ideas for improving neighbourhoods.

Ruth - a former actress who operated the head of Joey in the West End version of War Horse - opened the not-for-profit eatery in 2014 which now holds more than 50 community events a month.

Ruth Rogers of The Canvas Cafe. Picture: Felix ClayRuth Rogers of The Canvas Cafe. Picture: Felix Clay

It is home to mental health support groups for young people, identity based drop-in sessions, free meditation classes, family yoga, and performances featuring upcoming East End artists.

The events are mainly free so everyone in the community can take part.

The team behind the fundraising project say it will directly benefit people at risk of poverty in Tower Hamlets.

They add that the borough is home to thousands of young people at risk of hunger over the school holidays.

The money raised will help buy equipment to provide free lunches for about 100 children every week during the six weeks break and support ongoing projects feeding the homeless at the Crisis Skylight Centre in Commercial Street.

But pledges will only be collected if the campaign hits its target by August 12. Anyone interested in donating should visit spacehive.com/thecanvas?searchText=canvas%20cafe

The Crowdfund London team at the Greater London Authority said: "This project really resonates with the mayor's desire to make this a city for all Londoners.

"The Canvas Cafe is already doing some amazing things. With this project they will do even more."

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