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Matthews Yard owner urges Croydon people to donate survival funds

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THE founder of Matthews Yard has issued an urgent appeal for people to come forward with funds to ensure its survival.

Saif Bonar, who started the cafe and co-working space back in 2012, said the business needs to secure £10,000 before the end of February to stop it from going into administration.

He launched a loan fund for the flagging business last December to try to raise funds to help with "cash flow problems" and to pay money owed to former staff as well as other debts totalling around £100,000.

Mr Bonar admitted the last year at Matthews Yard had been a "huge firefight", but said restructuring its debt would leave it in a better position than ever.

"Last year we grew too quickly at times, we dropped the ball at times and it caused the business to expand really quickly and then contract really quickly," he said.

"We just didn't know when to expect these rushes of people and we couldn't afford to staff it at the level it needed to be staffed in case they didn't turn up.

"Then, it's kind of a Catch-22 situation."

Mr Bonar took to the Matthews Yard Facebook page last Sunday to make the appeal.

He wrote: "If we are not successful in securing an additional £5,000 in loan funding in January and £5,000 in February we will regrettably be forced into administration at the end of February.

"Please rest assured I am doing everything I can to avert this and we have many promising options on the horizon, however, without the urgent loan funding, we will be forced to close our doors."

Mr Bonar told the Advertiser this week that the financial situation had "come to a head" after staff had left during last year as they went unpaid.

He said: "There was a regular dialogue between us and them, but as each one dropped off they were obviously owed a backlog of holiday pay and actual pay and it came to a head by Christmas when we weren't making payment as we should.

"The loan fund was an idea to carry us through that Christmas period. It's not about increasing the level of debt, it's about getting money to the people it's owed to."

The cafe itself is no longer run directly by Matthews Yard while other small businesses, such as Beer and Burger, are now able to set up in a food court-style arrangement, explained Mr Bonar, who has himself stopped taking a salary.

He started Matthews Yard with just £5,000 in the bank in 2012 and despite its current perilous financial situation, Mr Bonar was upbeat about its future chances, though he himself plans to step down later this year.

"If we'd tried to raise money at the point it was a concrete shell full of rubbish, no-one would have been interested, now you're doing it at a point where there's infinitely less risk," he added.

Matthews Yard owner urges Croydon people to donate survival funds


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