Heartbreak, Hard Work & Hot Chocolate: Inside South London’s Good Hope Café

Come for the biscuit-on-a-cupcake (seriously), the amenities, the pastries and the brew: but stay because it means so much to have us all come together in support of places and spaces like this.
picture credit: good hope cafe

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On the day after Jimmy Mizen’s 16th birthday, he was in a bakery in his home town of Lewisham, when without provocation he was attacked. After a senseless and violent altercation, he was stabbed in the throat. His carotid artery was punctured. He died of his wounds in the arms of his elder brother, Tommy.

Jimmy Mizen. Picture credit: ForJimmy.org

His devastated parents wanted to ensure that Jimmy’s death would not be in vain. In time, they gathered the strength to put together a legacy with a singular aim: that no child would ever go into their local community and not come home again.

They set up a charity, ForJimmy.org, which organises a variety of activities across the country. They have a Safe Havens programme which outlines champions that help create positive cultures and attitudes in shared places of rest and play. There are walking tours that help garland public places with buzz, warmth and shared activity.

And there are the cafes. In their words:

“Good Hope Hither Green opened 2010, as a way to make the charity’s work sustainable, while offering a community hub for the people of Hither Green. We later opened our second café in 2014, Ten Thousand Hands and in 2016 our third, Good Hope PLACE/Ladywell. Over the past six years, all three cafés have become a great tool for young people starting off their work life. We also partner with Drumbeat School and ASD Services to provide personalised placements for young people with Autism, enabling them to experience the workplace and acquire a range of essential skills.”

The Good Hope Cafes have been a hit. Last year New Hall School in Chelmsford opened the first Hope School Café. The café is managed by the school under their name of Good Hope, alongside a team of students that serve coffee and food throughout the day. Again, in their words

“The café donates a share of its profits to the charity but more importantly, the pupils are engaging in a message of forgiveness, peace and hope for Jimmy.”

So what can you expect from Good Hope Cafes? In Hither Green you are met by welcoming couches, an array of cakes and pastries.

Biscuit on a cupcake? It’s the best of both worlds 👌…

A post shared by Good Hope Café (@good_hope_cafe) on

Punters who freelance comment on the coffee (of course) the eggs, the innovative sandwiches, the generous availability of plug points, and perhaps most importantly, the feeling of warmth about the place.

Sunday brunch sorted: creamy mushrooms & spinach on toast with a poached egg 😍

A post shared by Good Hope Café (@good_hope_cafe) on

There are also some fantastic community events, from open mic nights, to singalongs for the kids, to community events for all people creeds and faiths. There are popups and yoga sessions; there is even a cinema screen at the Lewisham location. This really is a community enterprise with clout as well as conscience.

We love it. The homeliness, the warmth and the welcoming are everything you would expect in a space dedicated to community and safety. Come for the biscuit-on-a-cupcake (seriously), the amenities, the pastries and the brew: but stay because it means so much to have us all come together in support of places and spaces like this.

It is a privilege to report on all of the venues and activities that we cover at GOTiLo, but every so often one moves you personally, just that little bit and the experience of going to the place is intimately intertwined with the story behind it. It’s something indefinable and wondrous that adheres to every waking breath of the life of a space, It is the cement of local stone that creates that often indefinable quality we call community. It is why we love this area of activity we call social enterprise and why sites like GOTiLo exist: to attempt to capture the quality of a place, not only as a venue to be enjoyed but also as a place to be loved. Bottom line: if you’re in Hither Green or Ladywell, you know where to get your lunch. AS

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Good Hope Cafe: 216 Hither Green Ln, London SE13 6RT
261 Lewisham High Street, London



FoodMental HealthSocial Enterprise Cafe CultureYoung Peoplesouth london