Wellington entrepreneur Zak sees performance cafe dream come true

Wellington entrepreneur Zak Hammond is seeing his business dream become a reality with the launch of his own cafe.

Zak Hammond at Shrewsbury Half Marathon in 2019
Zak Hammond at Shrewsbury Half Marathon in 2019

Red Brick Cafe is among more than 40 enterprises to have been given an helping hand by Telford & Wrekin Council's Pride in Our High Street business support programme.

Preparations are underway to officially open the cafe which he created by transforming a large unit in Wellington Market’s new outdoor ‘pop-up’ zone to create a food and live performance space.

Plans for the new venture which is being backed under the council’s ‘revive and thrive’ grant programme included comedy acts.

Zak, from Wellington, has previously lived in London which opened his eyes to the popularity of live entertainment every night of the week.

Now he is hoping that customers across the borough and beyond will flock to Red Brick to make the most of the new entertainment on their doorstep.

“When I lived in London I liked the fact that there was a wide variety of live entertainment evenings which brought people together and I think towns lack that.

“I actually worked in the market when I was 13 and when I moved back to Wellington from London it was always a dream of mine to develop a café music venue in the heart of the town which the community can come and enjoy.

“Thanks to the council’s Pride in Our High Streets programme that dream is about to become a reality.

“I’m so grateful for the support I’ve had from the ‘revive and thrive’ grant programme. Savings to try and get ventures like this off the ground only go so far.

“Thanks to the grant I’ve been able to source and buy all the materials I need for Red Brick and it means I can now start to execute my business plan and give something back to the place where I grew up,” Zak said

Telford & Wrekin Council has created the outdoor pop-up zone to bring the ideas of the winners of the Young High Street Challenge to life.

The challenge has given over 1000 young people from schools across the borough the opportunity to set out their plans for the future of the High Street.

As part of Pride in Our High Street Phase 3, Telford & Wrekin Council is investing a further £4.8m into the borough’s high streets over the next two years.

High street ‘Place Plans’ will be drawn up for the Borough Towns, aiming to tackle the issues that are impacting on each of the borough’s high streets.

The plans will reflect the different roles of each high street, from local community ‘hubs’ to larger centres attracting visitors from across the borough and further afield.

Cllr Lee Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood, Commercial and Regeneration, said: “It’s wonderful to see how the Pride in Our High Streets programme has been able to support and kick-start the launch of the Red Brick Cafe venture.

“This is exciting news for Zak and the people of Wellington. I’m delighted the council’s high street support programme is proving effective in helping make our town centres vibrant places which our residents want to come to, and more importantly, keep coming back to.”

Telford & Wrekin Council Leader Cllr Shaun Davies, said: “The Pride in Our High Street programme has been very successful so far.

“As a council, our vision is to protect, care and invest to create a better borough. By investing £4.8m in Phase Three of the project across our borough high streets, everyone in our town should be able to take pride in their high street and we remain committed to delivering that vision.”

Red Brick’s official opening event will take place at 7pm on October 30.

Zak added: “The launch of Red Brick Cafe will be a proud moment for me. It has taken a lot of hard work to bring the project to fruition but now we are almost there, I can’t wait to get stuck in, and hopefully the people of Wellington will support what we are trying to achieve here.”

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