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La Tour Cafe re-opens to great acclaim at Ipswich Waterfront location

PUBLISHED: 08:12 07 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:12 07 June 2018

Owner of La Tour Cycle Cafe, Anna Matthews  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Owner of La Tour Cycle Cafe, Anna Matthews Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A community cafe in Ipswich has re-opened its doors after moving to its new home on the waterfront.

Westbourne's Samba band played at the cafe   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNWestbourne's Samba band played at the cafe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

La Tour Cycle Cafe now sits next to Dance East at the heart of the Waterfront.

The cafe was previously based on Tower Street but decided to move last year.

The process to find a new home began last year when the Mrs Matthews spoke about empty buildings in Suffolk and how it would be good for community groups to make the most of the spaces.

“I thought it would be good if community organisations could use these buildings for a bit of time,” said Mrs Matthews.

Westbourne's Samba band played at the cafe   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNWestbourne's Samba band played at the cafe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“I decided to talk to property developers and I was lucky enough to find this space at the waterfront.”

With the help of DPL, the second contractors at the ‘wine rack’ development Mrs Matthews was able to partition off the space at the front and turn it into a fully functioning cafe with utilities and kitchen space.

The rest of the space was turned into a site office for DPL.

Now the cafe has re-opened to the public in larger more flexible space where people can gather but also where local artwork can be exhibited.

Already the cafe has played a role in the PhotoEast festival at the waterfront, hosting the Tapestry pieces by Gillian Allard.

The piece highlight the stories of refugees coming to the areas.

“I think people are loving having a cafe and the access is really good for people in wheelchairs.”

For Mrs Matthews the key is to make sure that the building remains as much of a community space as it was on Tower Street.

“I want people to feel it is a community space, a community asset.”

The cafe will act as a pop up, temporary space which Mrs Matthews believes she will be in for a couple of years before moving on elsewhere as the building is regenerated.

She already has plans to look at the derelict church on Upper Orwell Street with other community groups such as Jimas in the long term.

“It needs investing in,” said Mrs Matthews.

Until then La Tour Cafe will remain open at the Waterfront where there are already plans in place to host more local art exhibitions in the near future.

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