Writing is on the wall for Body Gossip’s ‘Canvas’ pop-up café in Spitalfields

Body Gossip's pop-up 'Canvas' caf� in Hanbury Street... with its 'notepad' wall on left

Body Gossip's pop-up 'Canvas' caf� in Hanbury Street... with its 'notepad' wall on left - Credit: Body Gossip charity

A new pop-up café and creative venue has appeared in London’s East End where customers are encouraged to scribble on the walls.

The Canvas café, a spin-off from Body Gossip social enterprise, has opened in Spitalfields at 42 Hanbury Street as a platform to boost people’s self-esteem, confidence and mental health, while serving up locally sourced home-made food.

Its walls are “a blank canvas” for customers’ thoughts, ideas, secrets and stories—but they must “keep it clean for the sake of the kids”.

The concept was inspired by people’s honesty who were invited by the charity’s founder, Ruth Rogers, to share their thoughts on a blank sofa at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

“Sharing our thoughts is uplifting for the writer and the reader,” Ruth says. “It’s my aim that the café will open up the conversation to new topics, with self-confidence, so customers leave feeling better about themselves.”

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The café has a programme of workshops and classes in self-esteem and wellbeing, including ‘mindfulness’ sessions run by Inner Space community choir.

The team running the café is also offering use of their event space free to charities and other social enterprises.

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