With the shocking overnight closing of Cardiff’s beloved bar Buffalo, and the threat of demolishing Guildford Crescent some societies feel that it’s time to stand up for independent businesses and preserving Cardiff’s culture, saving jobs, and improving the local economy. Businesses in Cardiff often work closely with sports clubs and societies, offering venues and discounts. At a meeting last Sunday, committee members of various societies expressed an interest in supporting their local businesses. Representatives from the Live Music Society, the 30 Minute Society, the Film Society, Labour Students Society, the Medical Society, and the Hiking Society were all present. The group- who call themselves Cardiff Students for Independent Business (CSIB) – hopes to expand to include more societies and students so they can have a bigger and better impact for these small businesses.
The group met at The Bootlegger, an independent and alternative cocktail bar, where they put their heads together and thought of ways to support the businesses they care about through their respective societies. For now, the group is currently planning on building awareness and encouraging students and societies to choose independent venues for their events, such as Gwdihw Café Bar, Undertone, Clwb Ifor Bach, Tramshed, and The Moon- who are currently hosting Independent Venues week. The group have hopes of planning an Independent Bar Crawl and encourage more societies to plan socials at these venues, and work with the Students’ Union to offer alternatives to the usual Freshers Week events. For those interested in non-alcoholic socials, Cardiff has a variety of independent cafés: Hoffi Coffi, The Early Bird, Milgi’s, Stag Coffee, and Kappuccinos can all be found right on the university’s doorstep here in Cathays, to say nothing of all the other amazing independent businesses scattered throughout the city.
The Student’s Union already supports and houses some independent food services, but the members of CSIB present feel that it’s not enough, and are coming together to promote these businesses and the local people that run them. Many societies already include independent venues in their socials, the live music society has had events at Gwdihw before, and the English Literature Society organises monthly poetry readings at the Big Moose Coffee Co! More can be done to work together to improve both the thriving culture Cardiff has to offer and enrich student’s experience at Cardiff within their chosen societies. Cardiff has so much to offer, with coffee shops and boutiques hidden in winding arcades, art exhibits and classes spanning from Roath to Canton, Cardiff Castle’s underground cinema, and vintage clothes sales in Cathays Community Centre and Cardiff City Hall. The opportunities are endless. It’s up to us, both as individuals and members of our own societies to do our part.