To our kind, supportive and loyal customers,
As we’re sure you already know, on Tuesday 17th March we made the heart-wrenching decision to temporarily close down the cafe and basement. This was in order to limit the possibility of Coronavirus being spread amongst our customers and staff, despite the fact that this meant all our revenue (and therefore, wages) would immediately stop. The decision was made even more difficult knowing that we also wouldn’t be open as a safe space for so many who use Kino as such.
To those who aren’t already familiar with us, Cafe Kino is a not-for-profit, co-operatively run vegan cafe and DIY venue in Stokes Croft, Bristol. Our members/workers own and run the business together, with a flat management structure (no managers, bosses, everyone is paid the same, etc.) We are an LGBTQIA+ friendly cafe and community space, offering small services for the homeless community of Stokes Croft. Since last year we’ve also been sharing our space with Hydra Books after they faced a sudden eviction from their original Old Market premises.
Before Covid-19 happened we were already struggling- but still managing to pay our rent, suppliers and own wages by trading every day and hiring out our basement for DIY events. We were in the process of developing new menu items, making improvements to the cafe bit by bit, and figuring out a new ordering system to allow us to cater for events. This has obviously all come to a halt for the time being. Thankfully, the government has now offered some vital support. We are currently under the impression that we will have 80% of all staff wages covered. This is a huge help, but the majority of our members are not in a position to take a 20% cut to their wages. We are hoping that we will also qualify for a government grant of up to £20k to top up wages and pay our rent on our two properties (the cafe and our prep kitchen in Fishponds). Whilst we are aware of other support being offered, we’re very apprehensive to take a loan from the government in case we find ourselves in a position where we can’t pay it back. This would leave our directors in a very scary and vulnerable position.
It costs roughly £25k to run Kino for one month; £20k for wages and £5k for all other overheads. We need all the help we can get to see us through this period. We’ve set ourselves an initial goal of £5k which can be stretched if we hit it. In the event that Kino is forced to cease trading permanently, any funds raised will be used exclusively to support staff. Obviously we’re all hoping it won’t come to that, and that funds can be used to:
- Help Kino reopen and provide essential services for those in need
- Make long-awaited DIY refurbishments to the kitchen and events space
- Replace essential equipment that had broken down previously
We have been trading and running affordable, inclusive events in Bristol since 2006 and have never asked for help before. As a not-for-profit, our focus has never been on making loads of money- just getting by comfortably enough to pay ourselves and provide a safe space for those who need it in Stokes Croft. When the time comes, we want to be able to reopen our doors and hit the ground running. We are planning to use our time in lockdown to:
- Continue having virtual co-op meetings
- Come up with initiatives to serve our community when this is all over
- Continue developing our new menu
- Host Kino curated, donation-based live stream gigs
- Rally behind our fellow small businesses, self-employed and freelance folk to encourage support from the public
Right now we have no choice but to ask for help from anyone who is able- please dig deep if you can! For larger donations, we’re offering rewards- but we would like to say that we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to fulfill these rewards should the co-op be forced to stop trading permanently. Rewards can be redeemed if and when it is safe and viable to do so. If you would like to make a donation of any size, without receiving a reward, you can do that too. Just select how much you would like to donate, or type in your own amount.
We’d like to thank you all for reading this far and for your continued love and support. We will keep you updated as much as we possibly can!
Love Kino xxx