With the number of vegans in the UK estimated to have quadrupled in the last four years, from 150,000 to 600,000, a growing network of vegans is flourishing throughout the country. Most are happy to practice their lifestyle in isolation, perhaps utilising the internet for supplier information, recipes, hints and advice. But there must be a demand for a place where vegans can meet, work and socialise, as the UK’s first vegan-only members’ club opens next month in East London.
The Bright Club is as much to do with business as it is fulfilling lifestyle choices. The premises will offer co-working spaces and support vegan start-up projects, as well as access to specialist business advice and events. Of course, members will also enjoy discounts at the attached coffee shop and store. True, anyone can call into the store and coffee shop to enjoy the wares on sale, but to become a member you have to be a committed vegan. On top of that, your business or job must also be involved with, or supportive of, veganism.
Founder Laura Callan is unapologetic about the strict membership criteria. “All we ask is for people to be transparent” she told i newspaper recently. “I don’t see it being a huge problem – I’m sure applicants will not be hiding non-vegan practices from us.”
“Some of the biggest successes we’ve had with Bright Zine (Callan’s ethical lifestyle magazine) have been from collaborations with people we have met at vegan community events. We want to create those connections for others.”
Certainly membership will afford vegans the opportunity to network with others who adhere to similar lifestyles, and learn from each other – both on a personal and business level. And with hopes to expand with similar clubs throughout the UK, not only will vegans have a potential new base, but the growing number of prospective vegans will have a strong resource for guidance and social networking.
Membership packages range from £30 to £200 per month and, as with any members’ club, applicants must agree to various rules of entry. These include no leather, fur, wool or silk, and definitely no animal-based foods or products on the premises.
The success of the The Bright Club will depend on the quality of services and facilities on offer, and the continuing rise in popularity of the vegan lifestyle – at the moment, the signs are looking good.
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