Roseburn: From Toilet Block to Cafe

By Friends of Roseburn Park

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A Cafe in the Park

The toilet block, built in 1903, has been disused since 1974. We at the charity Friends of Roseburn Park think it would make a lovely cafe; our community survey of 2016 showed 89% supported the idea. For many years we've been researching how to take this forward; the Council are keen and have said they'd give us a lease at a peppercorn rent; we have secured planning permission. When it's refurbished, we want to let it out to an entrepreneur who'd pay roughly £70 a week rent (inc rates) in return for keeping the cafe open as much as possible with a disabled access toilet that anyone could use. We've put together a 15-page business plan for how it could all work- Click here to see it We are going to use the rental income to make improvements in the park.

The Cost of the Work

The building needs a fair bit of work, but working with experienced cafe managers we've come up with a design that gives 30 sq m of floor space as well as a spacious public toilet, kitchen and storage. The costs will be lease preparation £1,500; project management £ 2,673; refurbishment works £66,486; a contingency of 10% that adds £ 6,916; to make a grand total of £77,575.

Fundraising the Costs

Over the past three years we have been exploring funders; the Lottery is not feasible, for we at FoRP do not want the responsibility of running the cafe as a community business, which we must do if we get Lottery funds. We'd rather concentrate on the park. The agencies that would consider a bid this big would be the landfill tax fund distributors. There are some other smaller sources of cash, but all funders prefer to see efforts of local fundraising as well. Thus we've set ourselves the target of raising £10,000.

To achieve this, we are going to run a "buy a brick" scheme. There are 2,350 bricks in the surface faces of the building and we invite you to buy a brick for £10; and if you want to buy a row, even better! That way you get to feel you own an even bigger bit of the building.. Sadly the Council won't sell it, so the the "feeling" of owning it will just have to do.

And in return, you'll get a free hot drink from the cafe when it opens, for every brick you donate for. And if you donate for a whole row of 5, we'll give you a cake!

And here’s the new groundplan that you've helped fund will look:

It will be so better than the present eyesore- we're returning the exterior to the way it would have looked when it was first built, 116 years ago- and the interior into a comfy cafe. And you'll have somewhere to go for a hot drink and a snack- maybe even a light meal- when the work is complete.

And if we fail to raise all the funds we'll need- we shall give you your money back. We should know by Xmas 2020 if we are going to have to do that. (But note that PayPal charges us for donations: 1.4% +20p, so if you donate £10 to us using Paypal, they'll take 34p ; ie we only receive £9.66. Also, Chuffed.org take a processing fee of 2.5% plus 20p on every transaction for card payments, so that route we only get £9.55. Therefore we can only refund that amount.)

Finally, if you prefer to pay by cheque, make it out to "Friends of Roseburn Park SCIO" and post it to FoRP, c/o 27 Riversdale Grove, Edinburgh, EH12 5QS. We are a registered charity ref SC044659. If you have queries, please email [email protected]

NOV NEWS: Baillie Gifford Investments have pledged £1,000 and Evelyn Drysdale Foundation £1,500- which brings our target of £10,000 that much closer to being met!

And here is the toilet block in 1903, complete with sheep; we aim to put it back to the way it was (but no sheep!).

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Team Members

Peter Gregson

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