This week Downham Market Town Council considered a grant application from Dice and Decks, a “pop-up board game café” which runs events out of Discover Downham as well as in March and Littleport.
Dice and Decks was set up in Downham Market in 2019 under the umbrella of a local church. After the original volunteers moved away it was taken over by a new team of three in late 2022. The new team incorporated Dice and Decks as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in August 2022.
The board game café is a popular experience for young people in the town, and is open to all ages. The scheme provides a space to learn and play board games, card games, and tabletop role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. The pop-up café opens at Discover Downham on the last Sunday of every month and charges a £3 entry fee.
Downham Market Town Council considered the request for a grant of £432, which Dice and Decks say would have been spent on room hire in Downham Market and would allow them “to focus on growing our customer base, and to reliably serve our community without financial worry.”
Mayor Charlie Pyatt proposed to not pay out the grant, saying he is “not sure it’s the sort of thing we need to be doing”.
Councillor Leivers pointed out that the CIC is registered at a Littleport address and has received funding from Cambridgeshire County Council. A Dice and Deck’s spokesperson said the Cambridgeshire grant covered events in Littleport whereas the DMTC grant would have been spent hiring a room at Discover Downham and would have “gone right back into the community”.
The councillors voted unanimously against providing support to the group.
A spokes person for Dice and Decks said “people in their 20s and 30s are the loneliest age group partly because they are so often overlooked. Dice and Decks provides a social place for people of all ages but by providing modern board games it targets the loneliest demographic in our society and offers somewhere to make friends and enjoy themselves.”