“We’ve got this big iron door which keeps locking us out,” says Samara Deen, marketing and administration assistant at Chats Palace.
This Friday Chats Palace is hosting a fundraising event, called The New Door Supper Club, to raise money to replace the door and refurbish the front of the building.
Chats Palace has already raised £9,510 towards its refurbishment. Overall, the venue is aiming to raise an ambitious £31,000 through its Spacehive crowdfunding project to fund the renovations. £5,000 came from the Theatres Trust, a charity which is backed by theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh.
The supper club is the biggest event of the Hackney Foodie Makers Market and is a key part of the Palace’s fundraising efforts. The market will be dedicated to celebrating local food businesses, with tasting samples available for the public.
Ms. Deen says the money is needed in part because the door is causing problems for staff and the public alike. “It’s urgent, it’s incredibly embarrassing. It’s not welcoming at all. We’re supposed to be a community centre, and the door is locking us out.”
Paula van Hagen, the venue’s director said the door was “old and unsightly, with jagged metal edges, these doors mar an otherwise iconic frontage to a Grade II listed building.”
The building is the former Homerton Library, which was supported by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. On its crowdfunding page, the arts venue says its “iconic frontage hasn’t changed much in the past 100 years. We think it’s time we put a new front door on that actually welcomes our community inside.”
A spokesperson for the venue said: “We would like our face to be one that says a lot about who Hackney is and what we care about. Above all we’d like our new front door to have the ability to make you smile, to feel pride in your community, to give you a sense that you are part of a civic movement that is bigger and brighter because we are all in it together.”
Fermented food will be served to the guests, one of whom is the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville. Sauerkraut, kimchi and a nut-based cheese are just some of the dishes these distinguished guests might tuck into.
Guests will also be treated to a buffet-style vegan menu, created by David Bez, the founder of vegan salad bar Pride Kitchen. Platters of roast vegetables, raw brownies, and farinata, an Italian flatbread made of chickpea flour, will feature on the menu.
Bez is very pleased to be part of the supper club. “It’s my community, my area, so I will be very proud. As soon as they came to me, I said yes, because I was super proud to do it.”
Originally from Italy, Bez lives in Homerton Road, just around the corner from Chats Palace. He also works at the Chatsworth Cafe.
“At the Chatsworth café, I do vegan food. So, what I’m going to be doing is taking all the pieces I do in my restaurant. Some people from Chats Palace came to my restaurant and fell in love with the food here.”
Attendees to the supper club will pay £32 and tickets are still available.