New venue-hiring platform Cajoot.com has launched, aiming to democratise the events space and stem the closure of independent cafes and restaurants.

Cajoot does away with high commission and booking fees, and allows businesses to make use of their premises for activities such as birthday parties, wedding receptions and pop-up shows.

It will also allow homeowners to hire out homes, gardens and pools for private functions.

The platform launches following figures in publication The Drinks Business, which show that during the last 12 months there has been a high number of café and restaurant closures.

This can be attributed to the continued rise of online shopping, home delivery apps and increases in business rates, which have all hit local businesses.

These services are only in the realm of possibility for large-scale corporate retailers, so adding an experiential element to local businesses could be one way of bringing more traffic onto the high street.

Alexandra Hoppe, founder of Cajoot.com (pictured above), says: “Finding the right venue at the right time can be a tricky and protracted process – sometimes it feels like the stars need to align to get the correct sort of space at the appropriate time.

“I set up Cajoot while trying to find and arrange an event for a company I was working for, at very little notice. It was so much hassle phoning around and took me virtually all day. So I thought there must be an easier way to do it – of course, it’s more than an added bonus to be able to help private, independent venue owners make the extra cash they need to support themselves.”

Cajoot works using a calendar-based system where users, after they have added their venue and event space page, can then let people know when it is available by adding dates to their calendar. If there are any last-minute cancellations, users can just go back into the calendar and show that the venue is free again straight away.

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