A community cafe in West Swindon is celebrating its tenth anniversary and continues to prove its success on a variety of levels – as a place to get together, where you can get a low cost meal, and a stepping stone into a job.
From two weekly meetings in Toothill and Freshbrook Community Centres, the cafe now opens on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9am to 1.30pm, at Toothill. Last year over 5,500 meals were served, as well as catering for the weekly lunch club for older people.
Pictured: The late BBC Radio Swindon presenter Sandy Martin launches the cafe in 2003.
Chairperson, Matthew Pearce said: “This anniversary is an exciting time. From a small starter grant from Zurich we’re celebrating what has become an essential service.
“Not only is the cafe providing an important focus for Toothill, around food served at a reasonable price, the cafe has built up a lot of experience in giving volunteers the opportunity to learn catering skills.
“We now employ two cooks to coordinate the food preparation and volunteers and we work closely with Job Centre Plus. Several people have moved to employment in the food industry.
Grateful thanks to volunteers
Cafe founder Tina Mackie added: “Without volunteers the cafe would not be able to run, so huge congratulations to them for helping with an important community facility.”
The cafe is certainly appreciated by the customers. Pensioner Noel Nichols said he visits the cafe three times a week to meet friends and the staff.
Sue Stevens is attracted by the good value for money. “I love the food served. A good breakfast at £2.75 is half what you pay in the town. It’s filling and nutritious, good for people on limited incomes.”
Pensioners Stan and Jean Mark have been regulars for eight years. “There’s a varied menu and good portions,” said Stan. “The cafe has a friendly atmosphere; the staff look after us.”
Cafe covers child care for volunteer staff
Thanks to a National Lottery Awards for All grant, the cafe can pay for childcare for volunteers and also offers training in catering, health & hygiene and customer services.
Drop into the cafe for details or call 07944 134915
Food and friendship at Toothill in 2013, back from left, Charlotte Davis, Victoria Barrett, Norris Kiddle, Tina Mackie, Simon Joliffe. Front, Barry Davis, Yve Wilder, Sue Stevens, Noel Nicholls