Cultural Squatters is a community café, entertainment venue, social hub and art project, opening in Merrial Street, late April 2018. Cultural Squatters houses four Ping Pong tables, supplied by Table Tennis England, available to all, at no charge, to improve the health and well-being for all members of the community of Newcastle Under Lyme and the surrounding areas. .
Cultural Squatters is founded on the core principles of inclusivity, equality and kindness. All work we carry out at the café/venue and any outreach or project work will be undertaken with these primary values in mind. Our belief of weaving a fabric of positive relationships, and experiences, that stretch from our space and out into the community, and the wider world, will create positivity and opportunity for all our guests and volunteers, as well as local businesses and investors. We will occupy the physical space of the café/venue, and we will occupy the minds of all whom we work with and support, and those who support us. Cultural Squatters is the place to be if you care about your community.
Cultural Squatters will provide a space for local communities and community/special
interest groups to meet, hold events, rehearse and perform. We will provide local artists with a space where they can deliver workshops to their participants, and exhibit their work. We will provide good value food and drink at a price everyone may afford. We are working desperately hard to provide a space which is entirely disability friendly, budget being the only reason we are not yet meeting the high standard we are so keen to reach to be as inclusive as we may be. The venue may be hired at a reasonable cost in the evenings, for private parties, the more left-field corporate functions, or performances. Cultural Squatters has the potential to become an intimate and well-loved live music venue and art space.
We seek to provide opportunities to the vulnerable or misrepresented within our community, and as such, Cultural Squatters will redefine social value by providing the best work experience for our volunteers and honour their hard work and dedication to the company, with an innovative and revolutionary, non-monetised reward system. We are an art movement, quiet activism, and a place to just be and drink coffee. Cultural Squatters has one rule – be kind. That sentiment is extended to all we work with: our volunteers , our guests, local businesses, and our investors. We expect kindness in return, fulfilling a positive cycle, promoting best working practice, and setting a standard that many other companies will aspire to.
May 1st 2018 sees the formal launch of Cultural Squatters. Though business as usual for our regular guests, we are hosting a May Day event for local and national press, dignitaries, colleagues and agencies whom we have worked with, and who have given us support, as we embarked upon the journey to create a space which is truly inclusive and for the people, by the people. It will be an informal, formal gathering, working on a drop-in basis, from 11am until 2pm. Normal business hours apply. We shall offer a selection of the food we have on our Cultural Squatters menu, which will be prepared in-house by our amazing crew of volunteers, and provide rolling entertainment and demonstrations by local artists and performers. May Day is our formal introduction to the world. Meet our incredible, dedicated volunteer crew, take part in our celebration of inclusivity and people power, whilst enjoying a game of ping pong. It is also Staffordshire Day and we shall be celebrating community, local enterprise and the great North Staffordshire Oatcake, by taking part in ‘…the world’s biggest oatcake morning’. It’s going to be a tremendous day.
Cultural Squatters is a project which was only conceived a few months ago, and which we have pulled together with hard graft, good fortune, the willingness to take risks on a pure and worthwhile cause, and most importantly, through the incredible, humbling good will of our families, friends and the general public. We have received donations of goods from people nationwide, due to our campaign to #bekind, initiated via our own practice, social media and a blog. We have been gifted produce at no charge from some local charities and businesses and we have received practical help from many dear friends and family members to make the space we are occupying look homely, feel comfortable and be as accessible as we can make it on an almost zero budget. Had Table Tennis England not offered us use of four of their fantastic tables, Cultural Squatters may not have left the drawing board. However they did, and we proudly house a Ping Pong Parlour within our unique, two-floor space, and will host local tournaments to help improve engagement with such a fun, social sport, free of charge during our day-time opening hours.
Cultural Squatters: be real, be yourself, be kind. What else matters?