Vegan cafe co-op launches fundraiser to help it through lockdown

The team is appealing for funds because a government loan could leave directors in 'a scary and vulnerable position'

Cafe Kino, a not-for-profit vegan cafe in Bristol, is appealing for funds to help it through the Covid-19 lockdown.

The cafe, which shut its doors on 17 March , says it was already struggling financially before lockdown but was managing to pay its rent, suppliers and its team’s wages by trading every day and hiring out its basement for DIY events.

The team was in the process of developing new menu items, making improvements to the cafe and figuring out a new ordering system so they could cater for events.

This has had to stop and, despite government support, lockdown is brining tough times.

“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 £20,000 to top up wages and pay our rent on our two properties (the cafe and our prep kitchen in Fishponds).

“While 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.” 

Cafe Kino is a not-for-profit, co-operatively run vegan cafe and DIY venue. Its members/workers own and run the business together, with a flat management structure – no managers or bosses, and everyone paid the same. It is an LGBTQIA+ friendly cafe and community space, offering small services for the homeless community of the city’s Stokes Croft area.

Since last year it has shared its space with Hydra Books after they faced a sudden eviction from their original Old Market premises. 

Kino says its running costs are roughly £25,000 a month; £20,000 for wages and £5,000 for all other overheads, adding: “We need all the help we can get to see us through this period.”

The co-op has passed its initial funding goal of £5,000 and has now stretched this to £10,000; if Kino is forced to cease trading permanently, any funds raised will be used exclusively to support staff.

It adds: “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; and replace essential equipment that had broken down previously.”

During lockdown the team is holding virtual meetings, devising ways to help the community after lockdown, developing its new menu, hosting livestream events and rallying behind other small businesses and self employed or freelance workers to encourage public support from the public.

Kino adds that it is offering rewards for donations although it cannot guarantee being able to fulfil these if it has to to cease trading.

You can give your support to the crowdfunder here.

In this article

Join the Conversation