Community arts café says farewell… or is it ‘tara a bit’?!

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NAFcaf

After three years, tomorrow is the final NAF Caf – pay-as-you-feel community arts café – at Northfield Baptist Church. 

That’s three years of sharing a meal, making art, being entertained and creating.

So, whether you’re a regular attendee or have never before had the pleasure, pop down tomorrow (Thursday 2nd May) between 6pm – 9pm and enjoy!

But is it goodbye? Or just ‘tara a bit, babs’!?

Here’s a message from the lovely folk at Northfield Arts Forum:

Eat up, it’s time to go…

It’s true – tomorrow is our final NAF Caf at Northfield Baptist Church!

It’s with mixed emotions here in the NAF Office as we do our final prep. It’s the end of an era. The Baptist Church has been NAF Caf’s, and as a result NAF’s home for three years. It’s seen over 30 cafs serving up delicious three course meals, live music, arts activities and great conversation, all on a strict pay-as-you-feel, minimal waste basis. It seeded two other cafes, in Weoley Castle and Hawkesley (which each ran for over a year) and has served as a model for several other similar projects across the city. Above all, it’s kept a space: every month (almost without fail) there will be people there, with food, and music, and a big welcome for anyone coming through the doors, whatever your age, background, abilities, and regardless of whether you can pay.

NAF Caf was dreamt up by Olly and Bethan Armstrong, and as the NAF team, we’ve loved it. It’s worth flagging up that NAF Caf is entirely volunteer run. Even ‘NAF Staff’ who are paid to coordinate other parts of the organisation do NAF Caf for free. (We’re incredibly fortunate to have an ever-evolving team of phenomenal volunteers aged 14-70+ who keep it running, especially when the NAF Core team are up to their eyeballs in other projects!)

We’ve loved sharing work and discovering new connections, regularly hosting ‘specials’ with other community groups and organisations (including Birmingham Contemporary Music Group,  Friends of Northfield Library and Remembering Srebrenica). We’ve loved the food – first overseen by Bethan herself, then the Real Junk Food Project, and most recently Connor and the pupils from The Edge. Most of all we’ve loved the people who’ve come along – as performers, as helpers, and as patrons. Sometimes we’ve met once. Other people are regulars. Some people showed up once and are now regular NAF contributors. Some months we’ve had 12 people, other times over 100! (It now averages 40-60 each month, but we’ll never forget The Great Pokemon Hunt of ‘16 when 150 people turned up!). All are fantastic in their own way, and are part of what NAF Caf set out to do.

It’s thriving. So why stop now? Well, we all need a bit of a breather. We’ve been very very busy, and three years is a long time with very few breaks.

The big reason though is: NAF is on the move. Again. This time to Allen’s Cross Community Centre. We’re moving in in June, and will be starting a new chapter. A lot of things will change, and we want to make sure that NAF Caf isn’t lost in all the excitement. We feel we’ve built something really special, so want to make sure that it’s at the heart of the new NAF that will be emerging in the coming months.

So it’s not really goodbye. It’s a pause. An interval, you might say – with huge applause for everyone whose made the last three years phenomenal.

The lights might be going down for this half, and the curtain closing, but stay in your seats. The next act will be even better.

Hope to see you there

The NAF Team xxx

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