New Banbury community hub a Hive of activity

Jake Ellement and Luke Cheetham open thehive in Banbury NNL-160612-150933001
Jake Ellement and Luke Cheetham open thehive in Banbury NNL-160612-150933001
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A new Banbury community hub where arts, crafts, sustainable ideas, community and green issues can be embraced and flourish has opened on Church Walk.

The Hive, a not-for-profit drop in community centre, has been opened by Jake Ellement and Luke Cheetham under the mantra of sustainability.

Jake is a long-time champion of community projects, involving himself in Banbury CAG, Banbury Young Homelessness Project and the community garden. Luke’s background is in the performing arts and he holds a BA in Musical Theatre.

The aim and scope of the Hive’s creators is as wide as it is broad as they aim to be everything to everybody who needs a space to flourish, Jake said: “We have set up a community hub. It’s basically a space for anyone.

“We are in the process of setting up a food waste cafe so it’s all going to be very sustainable.

“It’s very much going to be about up-cycling, re-using, sustainability, green issues, basically making things accessible to people who don’t necessarily have access to stuff.”

To make this happen the privately-funded community duo hope to work with local businesses and like-minded groups to supply a range of eclectic events and classes.

Private funding also means that they are fire-walled from any funding issues created by governmental austerity that have restricted other community programs.

The building the Hive has rented out for the next 12 months also lends itself to become a literal hive of activity within its three-floor layout.

The lower entry floor is the welcoming space and will be a jack of all trades, displaying local art work, acting as a pop-up shop, a meeting place and communal area where a tea and coffee can be enjoyed.

The middle floor, still having the finishing touches added, houses a kitchen and shower and Jake sees it as potentially an area which the homeless or needy can come and access.

The top floor is a more open space and this is where classes and events will take place. Eager to start acting classes and other events is Luke, who said: “I’m mainly going to be doing events which we’re setting up now. Lots of different sorts of events. I’ve done things before and ran a successful open mic night.

He added: “Its always been my ambition to have my own musical theatre restaurant so this is sort of the beginnings of that I hope.”

The opening of the Hive has coincidentally corresponded with the current closure and rebranding of Naomi’s Cafe but Jake is clear that the Hive is in no way a reaction to this.

He said: “We don’t class ourselves as a cafe as that isn’t the initial purpose. It is a place where people can come and learn new skills. I have been looking for a property for about a year and a half.”

The Hive is now open and is planning a grand re-opening next year.

To get involved visit The Hive Banbury Facebook page.