Café opens doors in village with aim of helping to tackle isolation in community

PUBLISHED: 16:00 12 February 2020

Sonya and Ian Stocker who have opened Congars Café, in Broad Street Congresbury.    Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Sonya and Ian Stocker who have opened Congars Café, in Broad Street Congresbury. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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A village has a new café which aims to tackle social isolation.

Sonya and Ian Stocker who have opened Congars Café, in Broad Street Congresbury.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONSonya and Ian Stocker who have opened Congars Café, in Broad Street Congresbury. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Congars Café has opened in Congresbury's Broad Street.

The café is a small, family-run business which is owned by Sonya Stocker.

Sonya had the idea to open the café as another community meeting place within the village to prevent social isolation.

Sonya, who has lived in the village for 24 years, is aided at the café by her husband, Ian, daughters Gemma, aged 19 and Chloe, aged 16, her mum Pauline and step-mum Cathie.

Sonya and Ian Stocker who have opened Congars Café, in Broad Street Congresbury.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONSonya and Ian Stocker who have opened Congars Café, in Broad Street Congresbury. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Another reason for opening the café was in memory of Sonya's dad, John Barron, who died last year from Parkinson's disease.

Before his illness, Sonya and her dad loved to visit cafés and spend time chatting over a coffee and cake.

She told the Times: "I had the idea to open a café last year as there is no coffee shop in the village aside from the community coffee shop, which only opens on certain days.

"I am really aware of the affects of social isolation on both young and old people and want to make this a place people can come to and meet others."

Congars Café, in Broad Street Congresbury.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONCongars Café, in Broad Street Congresbury. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

A planning application was submitted in August to covert the former outdoor clothing shop into a café.

It is open from Monday to Friday, from 8am-4pm and 9am-4pm on Saturday, although times may well change as summer approaches.

Sonya has tried to source everything ethically and from local providers; her cakes and bread are from Winnie's, her coffee is from Wogan's and milk is sold through Chew Valley Dairies.

The menu, as well as providing coffees, teas, soft drinks and cake, has light lunches including sandwiches, toasties, soups and jacket potatoes on offer, and will develop with the seasons.

There is a small play area for children and dogs, ramblers and cyclists are all welcome.

Sonya will also arrange craft sessions, some informal for
young children and others for children and adults on a more formal basis.

There are also crafts to buy such as paintings, ceramics and pictures created by villagers.

In addition, there will be pop-up events, the first one being a bike postcode stamping on February 20 from 10am to noon, followed by a jewellery showcase from Therese Eyres on February 21.

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