1. Nana is a pretty, trendy café in East London. And it’s run by grannies.
2. The café opened as a pop-up in November 2012.
The creator of Nana is Katie Harris - who had previously run The Amazings - a venture which paired up elderly citizens who had skills, with younger people looking to learn those skills. Yasmin Harrison, Nana’s general manager explains to BuzzFeed: “When Katie started the Amazings, she found it was mainly men coming to her with skills. Women had more softer skills - like cooking, or crafting.”
3. So, Nana was born.
The mission statement is clear. “You have incredibly talented, passionate and enthusiastic older ladies stuck in doors, looking for something to do. On the other, you have a whole community of people, looking for tasty food at a reasonable price. So why not bring these two groups together?”
“Our youngest Nana is 54, and our oldest is in her early 70s”, Yasmin explains. “They come from everywhere”.
4. In late 2012, Nana found a more permanent home - in an old public toilet.
As you can see, they’ve kept the urinals intact, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign to help refit the space.
5. And in December 2013, Nana opened its doors.
The café has a permanent staff of two or three who keep things ticking over, and at least one Nana (or granny) per day. “Some of the shyer Nanas just want to turn up and hide in the kitchen and wash dishes, or grate carrots”, explains Yasmin. “Whereas others want to get more involved.”
6. The Nanas are free to run events as they wish.
“A lot of the Nanas were from the hippy and punk era”, Yasmin explains. “Ruth for example, is anti-monarchy, and still goes camping - and she’s held quite a few supper clubs here. Many of the Nanas found that the only option available to them was tea and bridge-clubs kind of stuff.”
7. There is also a roof terrace which you can hire out.
“Hiring out the whole roof terrace really helps with the rent”, Yasmin explains. At 5pm, the cafe changes to ‘The Convenience”, and sells alcohol as well as meals. “Alcohol sales help keep Nana prices reasonable”, Yasmin adds.
8. As for the future? Plans are on the horizon.
“We’ve been in talks with a major charity”, Yasmin explains. “They look after abandoned cafés in hospitals, and the idea would be to have Nana cafés in their place”.
Find out more about NANA here.