Community Coffee Stop
Wigton Moor United Reformed Church
Community Coffee Stop - a much needed meeting place for the community (particularly the elderly and isolated in our community)
The Community Coffee Stop is about providing a warm, friendly welcome to the people in our community. A place for people to meet, create new friendships, and build community. Our aim is to provide a place where everyone feels welcome respected and valued whoever they are. People from all walks of life. The retired and elderly, people who feel lonely and isolated, families with young children and people from different backgrounds and faiths.
After many weeks of planning, organising, resourcing and delivering flyers to every household in our community (around 2000), I and a team of volunteers opened our doors to the community on the 24th April 2018. We were so surprised and very happy to see over 100 people turn up at the opening which made us realise that our community has been crying out for something like this for a long time. We open the café every Tuesday afternoon, 2-4pm in our local church, of which I am a member. The café is run and all our cakes and bakes are made by a wonderful team of volunteers/helpers from our church and local community.
We’ve only been running for 3 months and already we can see the dramatic impact the initiative is having on the people in our community. We have on average around 50 customers each week, sometimes more, and people can make a small donation if they want to (but this is very much voluntary), although neither numbers nor funds raised are the prime motivators for the café!.
We already have quite a few ‘regular’ customers who attend on a weekly basis and others are arranging to meet new friends they’ve made by coming to the café. It’s a real lifeline for a lot of people living in our community and as we are trying to reach out to those who are lonely and isolated and would benefit from coming to the café we provide a transport service for anyone who requires it and this has proved to be popular. We’ve been overwhelmed by the success of the café so far, with excellent feedback and hope to continue to serve our community well into the future.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
We’ve made a great start, despite our limited resources, but its only a start! We use church premises for the café, and the kitchen facilities are very basic with limited equipment and resources. The kitchen is extremely small, with a tiny cooker and small fridge (both very old). We provide tea, coffee, and homemade cakes/bakes, and with help from church funds were able to buy resources to make the café look more welcoming. With some additional funding we could do so much more. Better equipment and resources would allow us to improve the quality of the service we provide, and attract even more people from the community e.g. we desperately need a new fridge freezer, coffee maker, though we recognise that Grassroots funding would not cover everything - we could also do with new crockery, teapots, cafetieres, and utensils. Longer term, more funding might also allow us to organise the odd outing (coach trip, theatre, lunch). We have spoken to key people in our Local Authority, and there is scope to extend what we offer to include other groups (we concentrate mainly on the elderly and lonely currently) e.g. people with dementia and disabilities, but this will require a lot of careful thought and planning and require further funding.
"'...Everyone is so friendly. This area has been crying out for something like this for such a long time...' (Sheena Kelly)
'...the Cafe is the talk of the estate..' (comment in local Co-op)
'....The ladies who run the cafe are really friendly, and the cakes are top notch..' (Marion Steeles)"
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