The coming week will be a big one for a group dedicated to ‘putting the heart back into the high street’ when its first venue opens in south-east London.
Developer the Really Local Group aims to create and restore cultural infrastructure and the first demonstration of this will come when it opens Catford Mews.
Acting as a creative community hub, the 14,000 sq ft venue will provide a multi-screen cinema, live entertainment space for music and comedy, pop-up food market with local traders, and, eventually, co-working areas and exhibition space.
A spokesperson for the project said: “Catford Mews is Really Local Group’s first London location that is set to inject much-needed buzz and empowerment back into the area. Providing an inclusive and affordable venue for the community that is uniquely designed to embrace the diversity, history and vibrant culture of the location with amenities relevant to the local demographic and community-led programming at the heart.”
Catford Mews will welcome all ages and local groups. The cinema is the first multi-screen in the Borough of Lewisham in almost 20 years and all programming will be done in-house in partnership with the Independent Cinema Office (ICO), with extensive consultation from the local community to select specific films. The cinema has 220 seats across three screens and is fully accessible, with wheelchair access and hard-of-hearing screenings.
The cinema aims to be affordable and inclusive, with ticket prices between £4.99-£9.99, and discounts for students, families, over-60s plus further discounts for members available.
From September 27 the cinema will introduce a weekly Family Favourites screening on Sunday mornings at 11am for the whole family, with tickets priced at £2 per person. There will also be babies and carers screenings twice a week, plus Monday Matinee screenings for retirees.
For the opening week Catford Mews at 32 Winslade Way will show a range of films including, It Chapter 2, Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Pedro Almodovar’s Pain & Glory, Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, Sprinter by Storm Saulter and Peter Webber’s Inna De Yard.
Music and art will also form a key aspect of Catford Mews’ identity with a stage and live performance equipment available encouraging local collectives, artists, groups and even schools to become part of the diverse Catford Mews programme.
Upcoming highlights include the venue’s first Halloween, where Catford Mews will collaborate with South London-based We Do Good Disco to host a double bill and themed disco evening on October 26.
The space will also invite everyone from professional artists to local school children to use the venue as a showcase for exhibitions.
The food market will include a variety of stalls from local traders, ranging from Vegan Scandi Inspired Deli by Daun’s Deli, a fresh new take on Jamaican patties by Patty Man, popular Japanese dishes of Kara-agé Chicken and Kara-agé Tofu by FUSÉ and vegan doughnuts by Bears Dough.
The venue will also include a full-service bar, serving local produce, with its very own Catford Mews beer from local Brockley Brewery to be available in the coming months.
Locals can buy founder memberships for Catford Mews, with several options available, including student, 60+, family, and standard which are available from £25. Benefits of membership include free cinema tickets and exclusive discounts across the venue.
Preston Benson*, founder of Really Local Group, said: “Really Local Group is all about prioritising true localism, delivering first-class and much-needed cultural infrastructure with genuine consultation with the people of the local area.
“It is my aim to make Catford Mews the envy of South London, a destination for the people of Catford and the surrounding area. I am incredibly excited to open this new community space and look forward to sharing details on our next projects in the coming months.”
All photos: Taran Wilkhu Photography
*About Preston Benson
Benson is the founder and visionary behind Really Local Group. A native of North Dakota in America, he is a qualified accountant, formerly of Deloitte, and has experience in advising on and negotiating property acquisition deals.
In 2005 he moved to London with the accountancy firm, dealing with property and hospitality clients, and in the past 10 years he has also worked in the serviced apartment industry and managed the real estate asset portfolio of a family office, which included a number of shopping centres.
During this time Preston became acutely aware that the majority of developers who claimed they were ‘regenerators’, were actually developing sites with a ‘top down’ approach, with little real consultation with the locals as to what they really wanted for the area, and with very little ‘social conscience’. This was leading to identikit high streets and a clear neglect of localism.
New to the London property market, Preston wanted to break this mould, to deliver true regeneration and to shake up cultural development by launching venues that would truly have the local community’s best interests at its core.