It may not be the end of the story, but the light at the end of the tunnel is emerging for all involved with The Commons after a community meeting last week has given “renewed hope”.
The Commons, based in Fellowship House on Beaumont Street, closed doors and ceased operations in November of last year after a council inspection revealed “no consent” to operate as a ‘commercial grade’ cafe.
Although much of the future is still up in the air due to rulings on the use of church properties, committee member Sarah Ladyman revealed they now “had a path set out for the future” after more than 20 people attended the evening gathering.
Alongside a ‘changing of the guard’ from the founding committee members to a new group headed by Jarra Hicks, the future will “hopefully see a return of that space that everyone owns” said Ms Ladyman.
“We were disappointed when the space first got shut down, it’s already had such a massive impact on so many people’s lives,” she said. “It’s got this amazing sense of community, and it’s gone through this exciting new process after a series of disappointments.”
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Ms Ladyman also said that although many of the founding members were taking a lesser role or stepping away once the Commons was back on its feet, it was an “exciting time” for everyone.
“We’re still investigating what we are allowed to do, and then we’re getting these couple of thousand people in our community back into the fold and moving forward,” she said. “[The old committee] will be on hand to support and help with the change, but we’re just happy for it to continue.”
“Because of everything that has happened, it will be exciting to see everyone come together for this second stage of The Commons and to see it grow to exactly what people want it to be when they return to this space we’ve grown.”
“It’s an idea of this ‘commonly shared space’ that make up the community, and everyone engaging in it all makes it this great movement. It’s going be amazing to see the new continuation.”
The departing members of the founding committee include Catherine Pepper, Tim Evans, Caitlin O'Reilly, Olenka Motyka, Holly Buntman-Ronnenburg, Nick Grinpukel, Alondra Larenas, Peter Parslow, Miriam Williams, Andrew Goodwin and Sarah Ladyman.
The Uniting Church, who own the 150 Beaumont Street venue, currently have a development application underway to improve facilities, including the ‘commercial grade’ kitchen.
Ms Ladyman also revealed The Commons’ first event upon return would be a potluck movie night, and a chance for everyone to “come and hang out again”.
Although no date is set for the gathering, it will be announced in the near future of The Commons Cafe social media page.