Help Flat Earth Rise Again

In the early hours of Wednesday 8th March 2023, one man senselessly smashed up the front of our beloved restaurant my partner and I care so, so deeply about.

Anyone who knows us or has been to our restaurant hopefully understands how special it is. Rich and I (Sarah) created Flat Earth Pizzas back in 2019 from an idea hatched living close to nature on our canal boat. We have worked tirelessly, day in and day out, creating a business from scratch with the sole purpose of fighting the broken food system and making the world that little bit better.

We operated as a pop-up in some of east London’s best pubs for 2 years and then fulfilled our shared dream of opening our own restaurant in April of last year. After months of searching across London, knocking on doors and leaving no stone left unturned, we discovered that the location where we first ‘popped up’ was about to be on the market. A wonderful glass fronted, corner site sitting pretty on Cambridge Heath Road / Vyner Street in Bethnal Green. We loved that this was full circle, it felt serendipitous and fortuitous - we dove in head first.

We invested our savings into this space. We’ve made some big sacrifices that we’d make again. We gave the space a whole new look using eco-friendly paint, repurposed materials and used innovative solutions within the decor. We do the best by our team and, consequentially, are surrounded by a lovely bunch of kind and hard-working people.

We are relentless in our pursuit to make Flat Earth the best it can be whilst becoming an important lynchpin of the community we serve. We have created a space that welcomes everyone and we take nothing for granted. None of this has been easy; quite the opposite in fact. We sweat the small stuff and have become engulfed in Flat Earth.

There has been nothing but love poured into Flat Earth. I think you can feel that too, lots of people say it.

Owning and operating an independent restaurant is tricky at the best of times, but in a cost of living crisis is no mean feat. Especially when we insist on using the best ingredients we can, many sourced locally from farms and growers that we now know personally. We adopted our wonderful cat from our veg grower. These relationships and levels of trust between restaurants and suppliers are not easy to come by. Despite the rising costs, we price our pizzas and everything else on our menu fairly and do what we can to make Flat Earth the place people want to come back to time and time again. We donate money to charity, we partnered with East London Cares who work hard to fight loneliness in the area.

Since opening in April 2022, we’ve had three instances: a smashed window + burglary in September 2022, a smashed window by a drunk man in December 2022 and now this. All within 6 months. The first two instances we had to swallow. There was no point claiming on insurance for single panes of glass. Yes, they’re a grand each but, by the time you consider the excess and the hiked-up premium, we figured we’d just pay out ourselves and carry on: business as usual. This recent vandalism seems to be part of a spate of attacks on small businesses in and around London (4 alone within a 5-minute walk from us).

Here's a link to the article about the spate of attacks in The Caterer

We’re at the end of our tether now. Although we will claim for the seven broken windows on insurance, there are a number of costs that we need to incur. Costs include lost trade and overheads spent during closure and hiked insurance premium and excess. To protect our business, we are installing electric shutters which are beyond our budget. We simply don’t have the money when it conflicts with our quarterly rent payment and other costs that we have. We’ve set up this GoFundMe page with the hope of raising £15,000 to cover these costs and build back better.

The emotional cost of this traumatic experience can’t ever be compensated for.

For anyone who’s following our plight on Instagram will have seen my attempts at getting some support from the Mayor of London and local MPs. There’s been no help from them, despite small businesses being a vital part of the local economy. We will continue to fight for this.

Thank you for reading this, and for the outpour of support and love that we have received this past week. We are nothing without all of you.

Sarah and Rich.
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Sarah Brading

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