Following the tragic loss of their son Jimmy Mizen, Margaret and Barry Mizen were determined to make a positive change to society.
The Café of Good Hope opened in 2009 and the original intention was for it to support the work of For Jimmy, the charity they set up in their son’s name.
However, Connor at For Jimmy told us: “It didn’t take long for us to realise its full potential as a community hub that offers work experience and opportunities for young people.”
It now provides training and work experience well as regular placement to pupils from Drumbeat School and ASD service.
The café also acts as a Safe Haven, meaning it provides a space for any young person who feels they may be in direct danger.
The big idea
Unfortunately the café suffered very bad flood damage and required a complete refit.
Never deterred, the team at Café of Good Hope used this challenge as a way to make the café even better.
The new space is going to be the perfect environment to relaunch and expand their work with young people via work experience and training programmes.
Connor told us: “When the café suffered a serious flood, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to use a crowdfund platform.
"We spent a while looking around at various websites, but being a UK based company with some great case studies, Crowdfunder seemed to be the perfect fit.”
But they were still concerned that even with their great support network they might not reach the target.
It didn’t help that they had to close the café, which Connor added “was financially quite difficult, so making sure we raised enough was vital for us to get it back up and running as soon as possible.”
Fortunately for the Café of Good Hope team, their fears were unfounded.
They overfunded, raising a total of £16,565 from 253 backers in 42 days.
Pledges ranged from £5 – £5,000. As (all going well) they would have the facility of the café back, the rewards centred on that, with free coffee, lunches and membership cards.
The team got creative too, and for £150 backers, along with a friend, would be treated to free barista training.
They even managed to fill one of their ambitious £5,000 pledges, though the reward was very awesome: free tea, coffee and food every day for a year.
In the press
The campaign was featured in both South London Press and News Shopper.
Work has now concluded on the building, and the team have worked hard to get the café in shipshape once again.
The team are also worked with Bread, an award-winning design collective, who refitted the interior to create a new community space.
The cafe was reopened on 10 March under the new name Good Hope, with a special launch event taking place on 16 March to say thanks to everyone who supported the campaign.
Connor told us: “We couldn’t have been more excited to reveal the new café. "We were reluctant to give too much away during the rebuild, just to add to the surprise of our customers when we reopened."
They are also working on their training programmes, of which Connor said: “We’ve launched a new Hospitality & Catering Traineeship for 18-24 year olds. This awards a Level One qualification and a route into full/part-time work with leading catering companies. We hope the new look café will provide the perfect training environment for the young people on our courses.”
Tips to project owners
They key to success for this campaign, Connor believes, was their brilliant and engaging video.
He told us: “It gave people something that they could really connect with and also share on social media amongst their friends and family. This doesn’t have to be an expense. We filmed ours in one day using a smartphone and we edited it with free software.”
He also suggests utilising your current supporter base and growing it.
“Luckily for us we have a large supporter base, but for other project owners it’s important to try and build an audience.
"This can be through the use of social media, or getting in touch with your local press who’ll always be happy to feature a great project.”
Due to the serious nature of the flood damage time was not on their side; they had to work quickly and detailed planning ahead was simply a luxury they didn’t have.
Connor told us: “We did, however, set weekly targets for all of our communications so we could promote the project everyday through various platforms.
"We also soon realised that after the initial rush, you have to find interesting ways to get through quiet periods where pledge numbers reduce drastically.”
And whatever you do — don’t give up!
Connor said: “It’s easy to feel slightly dejected when pledges start to dwindle, but it’s important to keep plugging away promoting the project wherever you can, especially utilising friends and family.
It takes a lot of work and many, many hours just setting a project up.
So the biggest piece of advice to give is don’t underestimate the time required to make and run a successful campaign.”