social impact report & annual statement

Eat, drink, play, repeat

A licensed board game café reaches the tipping point thanks to a £20,000 Start Up loan from BEF.

The People’s Meeple is a licenced board game café located in the heart of Huddersfield town centre.

Founded by Richard Kemp, the Huddersfield based start-up is a place where people can enjoy freshly prepared food from stone baked pizza’s to vegan burgers while playing board games from a library of over 300 titles. This includes everything from childhood classics to modern board games.

Richard, a hospitality manager with over 20 years’ experience said: “I’m passionate about creating an inclusive and safe space for anyone that wants to come and relaxing with family and friends, and possibly make new friends. I want to work with local businesses and organisations to help bring people together and connect face to face as the world seems to get smaller as we live our lives more and more though a screen.”

Richard, a lifelong board game player, started The People’s Meeple to fulfil a long running desire to run his own café and satisfy his love of board games, people and hosting events. Having found the perfect premises on New Street in Huddersfield town centre, Richard began to raise the funding he need to transform it into a fully working café.

Richard approached BEF in June 2019 to secure funding to help with the opening costs of the café. This included refurbishment of the premises which includes a bespoke bar and open kitchen area. Funding was also needed to purchase equipment for the kitchen and bar along with stock.

Thanks to a £20,000 Start Up loan delivered by BEF, Richard completed the refurbishment and launched The People’s Meeple in December 2019. The launch of the café which opens from 10am to 10pm, seven days a week created 12 jobs.

“We have only been trading a week and the project would not have been possible without the cash injection from the Start Up Loan,” said Richard. “It has been a measured start, but we are already seeing repeat business and recommendations from customers about the venue and the offering.”

Speaking of his experience with BEF, Richard said: “The process of applying for the Start Up Loan was simple, intuitive and supported by a hands-on loan manager ready to answer any questions I had and give constructive insight into my application.”

Rupert Shires, Start Up Loans Manager at BEF said: “Board games are hugely popular so pairing them with good food in a great environment makes perfect sense. Opening a new café is not a trivial pursuit, however, I’m confident that Richard’s experience will enable him to run a tight operation. I wish Richard every success.”

For more information on The People’s Meeple visit

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