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New shop and cafe with a giant tiger opens in Nottingham city centre

today25 June 2022

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A new volunteer-run shop is hoping to inject new life into a fading Nottingham shopping street. Tiger Community Enterprise hub moved into Lister Gate in April with the aim of providing people with a safe space, say the mother and daughter behind the venture.

The hub has a range of home-made items on sale, as well as a café and a space for groups to carry out activities such as crafting. It opens at a time of uncertainty for the street that has witnessed a series of high-profile closures.

Project director Toni Jarvis and daughter Marielle Newton, along with 15 other volunteers, support people of all ages and and backgrounds, including Afghan refugees. “This hub is a calm place that gives a groups a space to run activities,” said Marielle.

Read more: New shop, cafe and activity hub for Lister Gate building in Nottingham city centre

“If you struggle with mental health you need to find something that can take you out of yourself. We can help people do that. Some people are still worried about coming out, but we are offering a welcome safe space.”

The most striking thing about the shop is a giant bust of a tiger, named Rory, which was previously used in a stage production of Aladdin. “People love him and a lot stop for photos,” Toni laughed. “Although drunks sometimes kick him and somebody tried to steal him the other day.”

The group was previously based at Carrington Street, but had to relocate after being moved on by Nottingham City Council. “We decided to go big and take a risk and come here, I hope enough people support us so we are still here next year,” said Toni.

Despite all their positive work, the future of the hub is far from certain. Tiger Enterprise, which made thousands of scubs for nurses over lockdown, is hoping to get a charity discount on the £70,000-a-year rent. However, the fact they are a CIC means it is not guaranteed, says Toni.

“I hope the council side in our favour,” the 57-year-old said. “It’s very expensive down here, we are relying on the goodwill of people in the hub. If not we’ll run out of money and won’t be down here anymore.”

Marielle added: “It was important to open the hub in the city as it’s more accessible. People shouldn’t have to get more than one bus to get here.”

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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