Seeing a new fast food eatery opening in our street, a friend and I chat stop to chat to the new (Somali) owner who tells us a little about his dream for the place:
” We want to make it so that ladies can come in as well as the men and so we’re going to have a coffee machine and serve fresh cakes, too.”
We make encouraging noises and promise that we will come to sample the ‘ladies’ wares’ once they are on offer. We agree, the street has no shortage of coffee shops for the men to frequent, but there is very little public space for the ladies. This can make it quite an intimidating street to navigate at times. The owner warms to his theme of creating a new kind of meeting place and describes a venue which will attract a wider, more diverse clientele.
” The trouble is, the white people are just not integrating into this area” he says ” so anything we can do to change that will be positive.”