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Find new friends at the community cafe
RESIDENTS are being encouraged to make the most of a community cafe in West Swindon.
Trustee Tina Mackie, who has been involved with Toothill Community Cafe since it began a decade ago, said the diner’s footfall has been up and down over the past few months.
She says the community hub, where people can enjoy a friendly atmosphere while they eat and socialise, is a long way from closing but wants to remind people it is there.
The cafe serves about 100 people on good weeks but that figure has dropped to 50 since the end of the summer.
The cafe, which sells a selection of homemade cooked meals at bargain prices, has a grant to cover its rent and for one paid supervisor but the building still has a number of out-goings.
Residents can pick up a two- course meal for £3.20 or a large breakfast for £2.95.
“We just want to remind residents that we are here to use,” said Tina, 59, of Westminster Road.
“It’s always been a great scheme to work at. And it is something that benefits the whole community.”
The chairman of the cafe, Matthew Pearce has been applying for a £10,000 grant from the Health Lottery to pay for a new service to ferry residents to and from the cafe.
He said the majority of customers tend to be pensioners and they can be deterred from venturing out during the winter.
“It is not just a chance for people to eat but also socialise,” said Matthew, 48, of Park Road.
“People can become very vulnerable and isolated at home so it is good for them to come and out and see people over a meal.”
He said the organisation was celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and he hoped the service would still be running in another decade .
“Dropping numbers naturally sets off a few alarms,” he said.
“But we want to get the message out there that we are here for people to use.”
An added bonus from the cafe, which is based at Toothill Community Centre, is it helps the local area by training volunteers to take their NVQ qualifications for catering and customer service to help their job prospects.
The venue is run by ten volunteers and one supervisor. It is open between 9am till 2pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
For more information visit www.toothillcafe.co.uk.
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