Community café extends its welcome with £5,000 grant

Funding means outdoor space can be enjoyed

A community café in Congresbury has thrown open its doors following a sprucing-up carried out with a £5,404 grant from National Grid in 2020.

The café, which opened in Bridge House in 2019, is run by volunteers who are keen to encourage local people to pop in for a coffee or a home-made cake so they can see the improvements made.

“The café has been a focal point when lockdown rules have allowed,” said Ian Sheppard, director of the Community Benefit Society. “We wanted to be able to accommodate more people, particularly by making the space we had outside more welcoming.”

This has been done by adding a six- by three-metre gazebo, complete with back and side walls.

“The café is used a lot by parents with pre-school children and grandparents with their grandchildren, so having the outside space has been especially useful while COVID restrictions are in place and the use of the indoor space was prohibited.” Ian added, “We have been fortunate enough to be able to invest in a new disabled access path into the courtyard, meaning we can truly welcome everyone from our local community.

“Having the outside space also means that we’re able to welcome our four-legged friends to the café. We regularly attract local dog-walkers owing to the outdoor space in the courtyard.

“With National Grid’s support we have been able to reduce our operating costs by purchasing a new coffee machine. This was particularly helpful when we had to close the café in light of COVID restrictions. Any money we can save on operating costs is put back into the running of the business."

The café is open on two weekday mornings and on alternative Saturday mornings. Any profits made by the café are either put towards its development or re-invested in the community.

The café has run sessions to raise funds for other charities and recently helped raise £800 for the Children’s Hospice South West.