There was a difficult meeting this evening for those involved with the Treehouse Cafe, formally known as the Fairtrade Cafe. Finances are looking pretty grim, and the restructuring earlier in the year has not brought it back into profit. The recession simply means there are less people with money to spend in a cafe, and changes in BD7 demographics also stand against the chances of survival.
The cafe was the nations first 'fairtrade' cafe, set up by Mike Harrison in 1994, with grants from Christian Aid and Tearfund. It was a pioneering project, and has been so important in the history of Bradford, a meeting point of radical minds and ideas.
It will take a huge effort to make it viable again, and we might not have enough energy between us - but I sincerely hope that we can pull it back from the brink of closure. That means everyone who is still around who cares about fairtrade, local, ethical food, pulling their fingers out and getting down to the cafe over the next few weeks. It means people giving financial support and offering time and expertise.
I will do everything possible to keep a fairtrade cafe as part of the Desmond Tutu building. I refuse to give up hope and stubbornly believe that a co-operatively run ethical cafe/shop/local community resource can be sustainable and must be part of our solution if we are to provide local alternatives to capitalism. Join us in the struggle to save the Cafe!