A London couple is hoping to showcase Crawley’s art and music talent in their town centre coffee shop.
Adrian and Sushmita Joseph, had hoped to find their dream premises closer to home, but when they saw the unit in The Broadway, they knew it was the perfect place for their business.
Six months after opening, the Blazian Lounge, is fast becoming a hub for the community with its informal atmosphere and family-friendly feel.
Attracted to Crawley for its ‘mini London’ feel, the couple have put the community at the heart of every they do.
It started with welcoming a busker to play for customers.
Adrian said: “He’s been known in Crawley for a long time. He has got a good talent. We are up for people expressing themselves.
“People want an opportunity in life and this gives a bit of exposure for him and a bit of exposure for us.”
The couple held their first art exhibition and open mic night this month and they are already getting requests to hold more.
Adrian said: “The amount of support from locals is marvellous with comments saying it’s the best coffee in town, the service is great.
“We’re 27 years of age and it’s a family run business.
“We want to do our bit to help the local community and want to showcase the talents that Crawley has.
“We are having a wall dedicated to art by disabled children.
“We might have an art exhibition on a weekly basis. People want to venture out into the evening.”
Vanessa Cumper from the Crawley Arts Society is supporting the couple in their efforts.
She said: “It’s definitely unique. It’s something I been trying to get established in Crawley for a number of years now.
“There are lots of artistic people in Crawley - painting, or drawing - but there isn’t anywhere for them to meet up.
“When Adrian and Sush asked me if I could do it, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to showcase the work of the members of the arts society.
“We could do drop in sessions. Some of the members can stay and they want to come along and learn new skills.
“It’s much needed so people can drop in, display their work and get involved in the arts.
“Joining a club taking a class is expensive. People can try it out and is makes it accessible.”
Adrian and Sush are also forging links with charities and the faith community.
They support the charity HomeStart CHAMS, which helps families in the Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex areas. The cafe is also the unlikely location for a church service held every Friday by Crawley pastor Dave Morgan.
Adrian said: “I was talking to him about church. I used to go, but work commitments stopped me going to church on Sundays.
“Churches can be a daunting thing, but people can come in an buy a coffee. They can take part and listen or not.
“People are getting interested. We have healing and prayer services.
“We are a Homestart hub drop-in. We want to help everyone in Crawley. It’s been amazing how good the response has been.
“Before we opened the doors were always closed and everyone was just walking past.
“We’ve opened the doors and people have seen something’s here now. We have older people, kids - all the generations coming together.”