Still homeless! Six months ago I was convinced that by September of this year I would have definitely found and be preparing to move into a permanent space that will house the Jericho Kitchen Cookery School. Hmmmmm… I was, to say the least, optimistic!
There have been two potential homes in Jericho but unfortunately it has been a case of close but no cigar. It is certainly not through trying. You will see me cycling around Oxford endlessly peering over hedges and fences in an attempt to see something that might just work as a space. What is most frustrating is not the wait, patience is a virtue Emma, but the fact that in Oxford alone there are 20 empty shops with astronomical rents that no new business can afford. I fear that Oxford will become two main streets of pound shops that lead to the mecca that is the new Westgate Centre – all clean and shiny and full of high street chains that can afford to be centrally located.
Go to any London suburb and you will find new shops literally popping up all over the place. Councils, for example, like Lewisham in South London that have a dedicated page on their Council website for encouraging and helping people regenerate and make the most of the empty spaces that exist. (www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/business/advice/using-empty-shops/Pages/default.aspx) This creates such a positive energy and encourages new entrepreneurs to also do the same. I mean you have to be so determined to keep going when you are a start up with no money!!
In my searches I have also found a great company The Empty Shops Network so there is a need and a desire to do this out there but I want to type into google Oxford City Council Empty Shops Network and find some help and advice. Maybe if there are enough people who also agree with me here in Oxford we can start the process? So watch this space because I am not going to give up! If you too want to get involved then please do get in touch or if (in my wildest dreams) you know of an empty property that is looking for my community based cookery school, you know where to find me! Thank you x