Peacemeal will be a music and wellness venue that works with charities to break the cycle
Peacemeal, a ‘social enterprise lifestyle space’, will open in a former Ancoats warehouse this summer with a mission to tackle homelessness across Greater Manchester. Set across three floors, the venue will include an artisan bakery and restaurant, studio and late-night music space.
The brainchild of Oliver Wilson, son of the late Factory Records founder and Manchester icon Anthony Wilson, Peacemeal will help to break the cycle by recruiting staff who have experienced homelessness; providing them with a stable job and, consequently, support integrating back into society.
Transforming into a late-night venue come sundown, the multi-functional ground floor will host an all-day eatery with fresh, locally sourced nutritious ‘soul food’; including fresh pastries and bread from the in-house bakery, artisan coﬀee, seasonal salads and sandwiches. Curated by DJ restaurateur Luke Cowdrey (one half of the Unabombers, whose venues include Electrik, Volta and The Refuge), food will also include a ‘holy grail’ one pot menu, featuring guest recipes from key chefs around the North.
Other plans for the ground floor include occasional club nights, pop-up shops and co-working space.
The first floor studio, meanwhile, will be dedicated to wellness - offering yoga and meditation space to community groups free of charge - while the rooftop space will be transformed into an ‘urban farm’ with the help of Dr Andrew Jenkins from Queen's University Belfast. Working with rehabilitated prison leavers and homeless, who will assist in growing produce for the kitchen, this was inspired by Jenkins’ study into the psychological benefits of urban farming and will also host community outreach programmes.
One quarter of Peacemeal’s staff will be people who have experienced homelessness. Offering an employment academy programme to support them (and a salary that’s above living wage), the venue will work with key Manchester charities to recruit individuals who have completed job workshops and kitchen courses, have keys to their first home and need the final step in securing a job. Peacemeal aims to generate up to eighteen positions in the bakery, back and front of house and a delivery service connecting to businesses across the city centre.
Peacemeal founder Oliver Wilson has a two-year lease on the empty Armstrongs furniture warehouse on Adair Street, which was offered to him by developers Capital & Centric until its scheduled demolition - when he hopes to move the Peacemeal concept elsewhere. Opening is planned for July.
He said: “Rough sleeping on the streets of Manchester has recently been described as a humanitarian crisis. As Manchester witnesses another renaissance, I knew there was something that this city could do, especially through our thriving food and cultural scene. We aim to support Andy Burnham’s homelessness initiative, fitting into his ‘four R’s’ by providing the final step of ‘reconnection’ through supported employment. We’re also approaching this in a holistic fashion, making sure music and arts play a central role in everything we do.
“We are also proud to be working with other charities from the Manchester Homelessness Partnership such as Booth Centre and Mustard Tree, and key partners in the Manchester food and beverage industry. All our profits generated at Peacemeal will be donated to various charity and community projects across the city”.