East Croydon Cool provides a warm welcome to the cool kids

By - Monday 27th March, 2017

Let’s help new Croydonians to find out where the cool stuff’s going on

Image by CDN_zine, used with permission.

With £5 billion (or thereabouts) being invested in the area, a street art scene to rival East London, an entertainment complex underway at Fairfield Halls, a Cultural Partnership Fund to encourage more theatre, music and art, a Westfield retail development on its way, support for tech start-ups and SMEs courtesy of Croydon Tech City, the renovation of Surrey Street market, transport links (for the most part!) providing speedy access to the heart of London, a new Boxpark boasting street food and a regular programme of events and multiple affordable housing options, it’s no surprise that Croydon continues to top the lists of where first-time buyers should be investing.

As a newcomer myself, I continue to be impressed by the variety of bars, cafés, pubs, restaurants, shops, galleries, theatres and diverse range of events on offer. From gallery art exhibitions, pop up theatre productions and life drawing classes to baby raves, outdoor cinema screenings and poetry slams, Croydon is shaking off its infamously uncool reputation, Taylor Swift style.

But whilst Boxpark (no doubt with a rather more generous marketing budget than that of other local establishments) has done an amazing job at promoting its restaurants and events, it’s been harder to find out about the other great places that the local neighbourhood has to offer. The quirky cafés, the independent retailers and the one-off theatre productions are tricky to track down without a dedicated marketing and PR machine to keep them at the top of newsfeeds or in local press.

I’ve had too many conversations with new residents who aren’t sure where to start

And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Living in one of the many new buildings, full of young Londoners keen to explore their new surroundings, I’ve had countless conversations with residents who are not quite sure where to start.

As Rebecca explains: “when friends come to visit, I want to show them why I moved here but I struggle to know where to take them”. Sam agrees: “I hear loads of people talk about what a great restaurant scene there is down here but I keep going to the same places as I can’t work out where they are”. And Mike sums up his frustration: “I’m constantly hearing about great events that have happened in town but I always seem to be the last to know!”.

Let’s share our knowledge and offer a warm welcome

So I’ve started East Croydon Cool to help newcomers to better explore the area and to offer local businesses a way to showcase themselves to this new audience.

The Cool Places section highlights some of the best places to go in a range of categories (including live music venues, vegan restaurants and coffee shops).

Cool Offers is where people can sign up to a newsletter that will bring exclusive offers from these local businesses straight to their inbox.

Cool Photos offers a visual overview of the neighbourhood’s highlights via the @EastCroydon Instagram feed while Cool Events will help to bring locals together to experience the best of the area as a community.

Finally, Cool People offers more established Croydonians the chance to share their favourite spots.

Whilst the website is aimed at the newbies moving into town, I very much hope that this resource will be embraced by current locals too and that they will use it to share their knowledge, promote their businesses and offer new arrivals a warm welcome to the community… because what could be cooler than that?

Maddy Duxbury

Maddy Duxbury

Having moved to London at 19, Maddy has lived both north and south of the river (with a 6 month stay in Spain and a year working in Argentina providing some well needed vitamin D). When not working in PR and comms, she can be found staring longingly at travel guides in bookshops or eating & drinking her way through London's latest haunts before trying to reduce the collateral damage in a lido.

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  • Tim Eveleigh

    Can I recommend http://www.whatsoncroydon.com. That might help people to find things?

  • Madeleine Duxbury

    A great resource for events Tim, thanks for highlighting.

  • Jeannegenius

    Don’t forget the wonderful adult education classes with http://www.calat.ac.uk at Clocktower in Katharine Street. Art History for commuters (Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Holbein, Gentileschi) after Easter. Also Photography, Languages, Life Drawing and Floristry.

    • Madeleine Duxbury

      Brilliant, thanks Jeanne, will be sure to incorporate in due course.

  • lizsheppardjourno

    There’s so much going on in Croydon, and I’m delighted to see someone trying to set up a service that goes beyond events listings, important as those are. Special offers, cool food, a sense of the vibrancy of local life… all in one place… and this could expand to include other areas such as education, as suggested below.

    As someone with some listings experience – it’s time to quit the day job, Maddy Duxbury. It’s a big job and Croydon needs you :) I wish ECC every success.

    • Madeleine Duxbury

      Ha ha, thanks Liz. Watch this space !

  • Nicola Rust

    Thanks Maddy! Wish this had been started when I’d moved here! Can’t wait to start discovering the cool side of Croydon!

    • Madeleine Duxbury

      Music to our ears Nicola! Happy exploring !

  • Catherine Pestano

    Tried to contact you via your website but can’t see how!

  • Catherine Pestano

    how can people interact with this good idea? I am trying to find an email? Many thanks

    • Madeleine Duxbury

      Thanks Catherine, glad it’s of interest! You can follow (and message) us on Instagram (www.instagram.com/eastcroydon) or drop us an email on . Look forward to hearing from you :)

      • Catherine Pestano

        thanks I am not on instagram and got a bounceback from is that just a temp blip? Are you on fb?

        • Madeleine Duxbury

          Sorry Catherine! It’s .co.uk…..so please email . Speak soon!

          • Catherine Pestano

            sorry for my mistake :)