Community Cafés of Swindon have announced that they have had to closed their café at Freshbrook Community Centre because of lack of customer support. The last session was on Wednesday 15 February 2012.
Julie Hughes, Chair of Trustees, commented: “The decision has not been taken lightly. It’s with a heavy heart that we announce this closure, but we cannot continue making a loss. The need for a community café in Freshbrook just doesn’t seem to be there anymore.
"Our volunteer staff and supervisors have worked very hard; they are a good team and have loved serving people and making them feel at home. But we can’t manufacture customers.”
The café has been run in Freshbrook on Wednesdays since 2003 following a request from young mums in the community to have somewhere to meet and have coffee. It was set up in Freshbrook Community Centre and grew from there into a focus for the whole community.
When the Community Centre closed for a while in recent years the café was forced to go elsewhere in Freshbrook, but renewed its association when the centre re-opened under new management. It had been hoped to build up a good customer base again.
Pictured above, the late BBC radio presenter Sandy Martin launching the Freshbrook community cafe in 2003.
In contrast the charity’s other operation at Toothill Community Centre on Mondays morning is thriving and customer loyalty is growing. In response the cafe will open a second session, on Wednesday, 9.30am to 1.30pm, starting 7 March.
Many of the Freshbrook volunteer staff have been serving at Toothill on Mondays so it is a venue that’s familiar for them. They work under a paid professional cook supervisor.
Julie added: “We do hope that customers who supported us at Freshbrook will be able to follow us to Toothill. “Operationally it will be easier to be in the one place for the week and we look forward to continuing to provide nutritious and affordable meals and snacks in a friendly atmosphere. It’s quite a meeting place. The success of the Toothill café proves we are meeting a need there and going from strength to strength.”
Right, relaunching the community cafe at Toothill Community Centre after several years in Toothill Church, from left, Sharon Pyle, Shelley Webb, trustee Pat Porter, Jean Mark, councillor Steve Wakefield, Mandy Starsmear