Tag Archives: Ray Oldenburg

News Round up

Apologies for much missed news and no contact for a while.  I have become a father recently and so have been out of action for a while now!  Personally though it gives me renewed inspiration to help develop the community cafe scene in Nottingham, since I think children get so much out of being part of rich communities that Third Place‘s  (including commmunity cafes) are essential parts of.  “It takes a village to raise a child” they say and every happy village has its pub or cafe or tea house where people congregate and talk and hang out…

Anyway on with the news:-


Tomorrow is the Nottingham Local food Partnership’s (find us on facebook and twitter) fourth monthly Market.  We have a great range of stalls from Ecoworks, AMC gardens, Stonebridge City Farm, Veggies, Secret Kitchen and many more (including a farm shop selling local, wild game meats  like venison and partridge).  It’s from 10-3pm so come along and hangout, also have a look round the new Victoria Leisure centre.  There is a cafe unit that opens onto the square – it is still up for tender so, if interested, just contact the council and put your bid in…hopefully whoever gets it will create a community cafe and not just a business.


Alain Job from Melting pot at the Sycamore Centre, St Anns has opened a new venture in Victoria Centre Market upstairs in the fish and meats section.  He is selling delicious African Cuisine in a banana skin cone (the nkono concept!) Monday to Saturday 11-4pm.


Marsha Smith from Secret Kitchen held a social event last week Friday 5-9pm – it was great relaxed, unique community event and a first for Sneinton.  You could BYO wine and beer, bring the kids, the food was delicious and cheap and there was free musical entertainment. It was the the definitive ‘Third Place’ night and we could do with alot more nights like this around (especially for us with young children who can’t get to pub as much as they’d like)

Social night flyer_secret kitchen_bw


Cafe bingo is still coming but there has been a delay due to funding issues….

Also am looking for further ideas and support for this project going forward – hopefully we can get an action group together soon.


What is a Community Cafe? – Part 1

This is going to be series of articles that investigate the idea of ‘community cafes’ in the broad sense that this network defines them. (see right column of website). My own experience of running community cafes is limited:  I have run Cafe Sneinton every Saturday (but only Saturday) for just two years.  It is entirely voluntary, from Dennis doing the books and going to the cash’n’carry, to the cooks and pot washers, to myself organising it.  I suspect that most community cafes have some paid staff and are also open a lot more hours.

So I was searching around for some knowledge about other social spaces such as pubs, clubs, coffee shops and cafes because these can be community spaces just as much as community cafes.  Even though more and more pubs are closing down, or turning into corporate branded pub-restaurants, there are still ‘community’ pubs around.  So I spoke to someone at the Campaign for Real Ale who mentioned something I hadn’t heard before – Ray Oldenburg’s idea of the Third Place.  I put this lacuna down to my lack of any formal, academic training in community work, planning, redevelopment or sociology as  I believe this concept is well-known in these fields.

So this is quite exciting because this concept of the’ third place’ is pretty much exactly what I had in mind by a ‘community cafe’, and I have even thought about changing the name of the network to ‘The Third Place Network’ – however I will wait to see what the network steering group has to say about this.  Also I am toying with the idea of buying Ray’s book to give away as part of the membership pack.

My understanding is that the characteristics of a Third Place (or Great Good Place) are: “free or inexpensive; food and drink, while not essential, are important; highly accessible: proximate for many (walking distance); involves regulars – those who habitually congregate there; welcoming and comfortable; both new friends and old should be found there.” (Read more here & here,)

Over this series of articles I hope this can be a guiding concept, and it certainly links in with the first type of space I wanted to discuss – that is the old-fashioned community pub or cafe.  Hopefully I will be able to chat to a few people who run these types of establishments locally (the King Billy pub in Sneinton and Tasty Bites Cafe in Sneinton Market) and write this up in Part 2 next week.