Culture

Mark Millar opens new community café to boost his hometown

The Rainbow Family Café is the comic creator’s latest project aimed at revitalising Townhead in Coatbridge where he grew up

Mark Millar Stuart Crawford Flickr

Kingsman and Kick Ass creator Mark Millar has swapped comic book pages for tea and cake as part of his ambitious plans to turn his hometown into a “destination”.

The latest scheme he has cooked up to help the Townhead area of Coatbridge is the Rainbow Family Café, which opened its doors with free food and superhero support on Sunday. The cafe is Millar’s attempts to build a sorely-missing community hub for his hometown and will be open on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoons.

The comic book legend, alongside wife Lucy, has spent the last few years investing money from the sale of his Millarworld company to Netflix to help restore the town to its former glories, including holding Comic Cons stacked with Marvel talent.

And he told The Big Issue that he has bigger plans to serve up in the North Lanarkshire town to lift it out of the economic problems that have dogged it in the last 40 years.

“There seems to be a really good market for it and every penny from it will go into the community – we’ll essentially give money away to start it up and then it will become self-sustaining,” said Millar, who unveiled his latest Netflix project The Magic Order last week.

“My plan is to make Townhead a destination. I want to have movie premieres for my films there, I want to have comic-cons, I want to have festivals, I want it to become a destination in a way that it never even was in its glory days.”

Rather than aiming to offer a social mobility boost to lift people out of Townhead and leaving the town to rot, Millar has opted to take the approach of improving his hometown.

The cafe is just a small part of Millar’s five-year plan to make things better in Townhead, whether it be working with the local church and schools or the bigger aims like the aforementioned premieres.

“There’s two ways you can look at something like that,” said Millar, who guest-edited The Big Issue in 2016. “One is you can kind of move out and go somewhere else or you make it better. And I think that the healthy approach is to make it better.

“I loved growing up there and I only have positive memories of it but at the same time the town has suffered from problems that the west of Scotland has suffered from in the 40 years. But I think that there is something to build on and I’d rather contribute to it then help people get out of it, I’d rather it became even better.”

Image: Stuart Crawford/Flickr

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