West Swindon Community Café volunteers were recognised for their efforts during national volunteer week in early June, with certificates presented by the mayor.
The two cafes, based in Toothill Church and Freshbrook Church, coordinated by Tina Mackie and Carol Gibbon, rely on the help of the 14 volunteers, who also received small gifts for their efforts.
The Mayor Coun Rex Barnett praised volunteering and said the cafes had a well established reputation around Swindon.
Volunteers range from as young as 7 years to the active over 80s. Carol said the success of the cafes was down to them, “we could not function without our volunteers – they make the cafe a vibrant place and their enthusiasm to ensure the community is better for everyone is inspirational.”
She added that some helpers have been involved since the beginning, five years ago, but, the cafe offered training opportunities and personal development. “Our mission to help volunteers achieve their potential means we do have a steady turnover as we encourage them to reach their goals. Everyone is trusted and shares the responsibility. Some have health problems or disabilities. They all say the café has helped them grow in confidence and self-esteem.
“For some this has led to work in the catering industry or being able to go back into education. Three of our volunteers have completed their Customer Services Level 2 NVQ and used the café as work experience for the course.”
Carol and Tina want to expand the cafe and open another day, but will need more volunteers. “Our wish is to return to the newly reopened Freshbrook Community Centre on this extra day,” said Carol. “We’d like to offer our best selling ‘Round Pound’ breakfast to more people, but also use this chance to expand our menu and introduce some modern and popular cafe culture snacks. We miss being at the community centre very much, and are actively recruiting new volunteers so that we can return there in the near future.”
To find out more about helping, call the cafe hotline on 07944 134915.
The Community Cafés run at Toothill Church on Monday and Freshbrook Evangelical Church on Wednesday, 9.30am – 1.30pm.
A new website at www.swindoncommunitycafes.org.uk includes full menus and latest news.