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Open Hoose at The Stove Cafe

Open Hoose is a unique opportunity for anyone with a community-focused idea in Dumfries to use our cafe venue space alongside the resources of the Stove team to launch self-initiated projects and events through the support of the Stove’s experience, space, and production skills.

“Open Hoose is all about growing and nourishing new enterprises, projects, or events in the heart of the High Street.”

What is it?

Open Hoose is a funded* project all about giving good ideas a chance to grow. So whether it’s a regular jam night, a bread club, banner-making group or book club, we want to offer our space, our team and our support to help launch community-based and/or cultural activity in the town, housed within the Stove Cafe. Activity can be a one-off evening or a regular slot, it’s up to you!

Think of it as ‘testing’ an idea. So if you’re not quite sure of the details yet, or even how it will all work out, that’s okay! Come talk to us, it might just be what we’re looking for.

Who can apply and what we’re looking for

This opportunity is available to anyone with a community-focused idea.

We want to hear ideas that have the potential to grow. Even if you’re not sure. Sometimes the best projects can come from even a passing thought. You may even have a project already on the go but could do with that extra bit of support.


Activity will take place between January – March 2022.

How ideas will be chosen

There are no exact hard and fast rules to the Open Hoose project, and we want to keep an open mind to new ideas that come through our door. As a community organisation, we believe no one should face barriers to participating in new experiences and creative activity.

With that in mind, we’re particularly interested in ideas that work with, for and about our diverse communities be them of interest, place, or identity.

We think of Open Hoose as a ‘testing ground’ for new ideas, from pop-ups to enterprises, new community groups or arts activity that may well eventually lead you to your next big thing.

Selections will be made against the following criteria:

  • The potential of the idea to grow and develop
  • Its potential to bring people together
  • Encourages people to try new things
  • Helps to grow the vibrancy of the town centre as a diverse, community-centred and lively place to live, learn and take part in activities

Whilst every idea will be considered, unfortunately not every project will be taken forward due to the resources, timescale and current funding available though we will ensure to provide detailed feedback in every enquiry.

We’re particularly interested in hearing from groups and individuals we haven’t yet had the chance to work with.

What the project cannot support:

  • Self – promotional and/or retail activity* (for eg: book launches, solo exhibitions, pop-up shops)
  • Private events
  • Corporate functions
  • Party Political Activity
  • Residency space* (for eg: private space for developing creative work)

All proposed activity should comply with the Stove’s values of inclusion, equality, and diversity.

Some examples of the type of activity the Stove has supported:

  • Drawing For Enjoyment
  • Doughlicious Bread Club
  • High Street Writers
  • Brave New Words
  • DoonGamers

What do you get out of it?

Dependent on needs, The Stove can offer free use of our cafe space in the evening, staffing, marketing support alongside technical and production assistance, decided on a case-by-case basis. We may be able to offer some financial contribution towards materials or other costs. We’re looking for ideas with the potential to grow, within or out-with the Stove Cafe.

Interested? Fill out the short enquiry form below!

Got a question or want to sound your idea out? Give us a bell on 01387 252435 or email [email protected]

*Funding: Scottish Government: Investing in Communities Fund

Musings News Project Updates

Feeding Creativity in Dumfries

From Andrew Gordon

Many have suggested simple solutions to the French Paradox, the apparent contradiction that the French can eat rich, fatty foods while maintaining a lifestyle much healthier than many their counterparts in the western world. Could it be all the red wine? Or maybe its something in their genetics? The answer, as Will Marshall explained in his introduction to the Open Jar Collective’s “Feeding Creativity” event, is likely much more complicated than that, and is a clear indication that our attitude towards food has a fundamental effect on our everyday lives. From how we socialise, to how we interact with our surrounding landscape and, importantly, how we create, Will understands that our relationship with food shapes us as individuals and as a community, capable of bringing us together and prompting what he calls “unexpected interactions” across all sorts of social and cultural boundaries. For him and the rest of the Stove team, the prospect of opening a cafe Dumfries town centre is much more than a simple business venture. On the contrary, the Stove sees its future cafe not just as a place to drink nice coffee but as lively hub that will bring the community together, be it to participate in the events or activities facilitated by the Stove network or just to enjoy good quality local produce, sourced from across the region.

The Project Cafe in Glasgow, one of the cafe’s cited by Open Jar in their exploration of Creativity and Food

o fulfil this vision, the Stove has enlisted the expertise of the Open Jar Collective, a group of Glasgow-based artists who specialise in all things food. Open Jar have been carrying out extensive research to in order formulate an operational plan and identity for the cafe, analysing similar projects undertaken by other arts organisations in the UK (Glasgow’s Project Cafe was offered as one such example) and meeting with local producers such as the Loch Arthur Farmshop.

Feeding Creativity represented another stage in this process, a 2-hour event held at 100 Midsteeple in which they invited anyone with an interest in food and creativity to have their say about what they’d like to see from a new eating spot in the town centre – and to share some tasty soup and bread in the process.

Attendees included caterers, health workers, business owners and civil servants amongst other professionals, all interested in leveraging the cafe’s prime location and the region’s ample culinary resources to enrich the town and the lives of its denizens alike. Splitting into groups, they identified problems currently ailing the town and suggested some ways these could be addressed, resulting in a sort of mission plan that might inform the functioning of the cafe in its finished form.

Chief among these was the need for a place to meet after shopping hours that isn’t a pub, giving young people a chance to get out of the family home and giving community groups somewhere amenable to convene on a regular basis. Another was the desire for a knowledge centre where townsfolk can share their passion for food, be it cooking skills, growing techniques or healthy eating advice.

The Bakery at Loch Arthur Farmshop

All in all, Open Jar were met with an enthusiastic response and left with plenty of ideas to work with, ending the night by assuring that further public consultations are in the works. With the cafe due to open in time for Guid Nychburris, the Stove is keen to get as many people excited about food’s potential to bring about positive change as they can in the coming months, ideally resulting in a space that the people of Dumfries can feel invested in and responsible for, and which gives the town centre a whole new lease of life.  If Feeding Creativity is any indication, it’s off to a great start.

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