BY Brian Braganza
Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz about a café in the Bridgewater Public Library? Café 12 Bridgewater is an innovative social enterprise, which has a focus on community engagement while providing a full service café. Café 12 will be run by a a not-for-profit organization, as such, the proceeds from food and beverage sales will help sustain the Café and be directed towards our social mission: inviting neighbours to congregate, collaborate and create towards building a vibrant and compassionate community. Café 12’s ideals and practices would give the people of Bridgewater a place to come and meet with each other, share some of their talents, help facilitate other community projects and maybe even contribute an idea to be put into action to enrich the community.
Café 12 will work with young people as an activating force to engage citizens of all ages. Think about the recent flood of intergenerational events like the Bridgewater Community Christmas dinner, the Hodge Podge Community Garden, Incredible Edible Bridgewater, and the Growing Green festival. All this and more! Ideas generated by citizens and supported by community engagement facilitators, all to increase the active contribution of community members to our town.
There is currently a design team of 8 local people who have been working together for nearly a year to begin a dialogue with Bridgewater Council on what a lease agreement could look like. On April 22, Council voted to begin negotiations with Café 12. Our intention is to co-operate and collaborate with Town Council, local citizens, community groups and business to build a vibrant Bridgewater so all can benefit. Our intention is to negotiate an agreement that is completely agreeable to both Café 12 and Town Council. Café 12 intends to bring more people to King St. more hours of the day, improving business as well as safety. Café 12 is a fantastic fit with Bridgewater’s newly adopted Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan and would support the vibrancy needed in the heart of King Street. The iconic library building, across from the old bridge is a perfect location for a café that activates and spills onto the street, and an organization designated to promoting and increasing the quality of the community.
Café 12 is part of a larger vision founded by Marc Langlois, who is also the co-founder for HeartWood Centre for Community Youth Development. The vision would see multiple Café 12s’ across Canada networked together all dedicated to improving their local neighbourhood. Café 12 Bridgewater has the potential to be the first protoype site in Canada. Another site is emerging in Halifax.