Crowds of spectators gathered outside the O Cappuccino cafe on London Road yesterday (July 19) to celebrate the launch of the ‘Love Norbury’ campaign.
The campaign, launched by the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed, aims to encourage community solidity and reverse the decline of Norbury’s high street, according to Ian Clarke, chairman of the Love Norbury Committee.
“The poor state of our streets, particularly the high street, is the issue of greatest concern to Norbury residents.”
According to Mark Smith, Love Norbury committee member, “small steps can lead to big changes.”
Elsa Viveiros, 38, owner of O Cappuccino, is just one of many local business owners who share this optimism, determined to turn yesterday’s enthusiasm and show of love for the area into a lasting and prosperous future for Norbury.
She has witnessed the decline of the high street and the closure of many shops over the past eight years, and hopes that the event will have a positive effect on Norbury’s reputation and help shine the limelight on local shops.
“Norbury has a bad reputation, but there is a lot of good here,” she said.
“This is a positive event which brings the community together. There is a lot of talent in the area who would go unknown if we didn’t have events like this.”
Viverios is waiting to hear back from the council on her plans to provide café facilities in Norbury park to help bring local people together.
“Every Sunday from 8am-11am, we offer free coffee and tea for local residents and offer reductions for those with our discount card,” she said.
“I want to offer more workshops and opportunities for the community to come together but my shop is too small.
“So I have put forward a proposal to the council to allow me to have a café in the park.”
She is hoping that her commitment to help turn Norbury around will be recognised.
More information about the campaign can be found here.