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Matthews Yard celebrates its first anniversary

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CREATED out of a desire to provide a "venue for everyone" after the horrors of the 2011 riots, Matthews Yard has celebrated its first birthday.

Founder Saif Bonar says that while the venture, located in premises off historic Surrey Street, has not yet turned promise into profitability, it has made a real mark in the life of the town.

Mr Bonar has built the venue's reputation by offering what he believes is a wide range of facilities at a price which people from across Croydon can afford.

The result is that the premises now offers hot-desk space for start-up businesses, complete with wi-fi access, meeting rooms and a bar and cafe.

Matthews Yard is also becoming an area increasingly used for entertainment, including comedy acts and live music, and an as place where people choose to simply come to relax with friends.

Work is almost completed on a £5,000 project to convert part of the rear of the building in to a small theatre capable of staging plays and offering space for rehearsals.

Mr Bonar said: "We won't be able to replace the facilities which were offered at the Warehouse Theatre or the Clocktower, but we will be offering small grassroots groups the opportunity to put on productions which they could not do elsewhere."

He hopes the theatre will be up and running within the next couple of months.

Reflecting further on the first year's performance, Mr Bonar said: "Things have gone a lot better than I thought they would, in terms of creating goodwill in the town.

"We have established ourselves as a part of Croydon quite quickly."

He added: "Financially the situation has not gone as well as we hoped, but things are looking up and over the past month we made more money than we did in the previous four.

"I think that over the next year things are going to get a lot better, and we will be making sure we start building the business rather than building the premises."

Matthews Yard celebrates its first anniversary


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