Volunteers celebrate one year of community café raising money for hub project

Volunteers of Congresbury Community Coffee Shop at its first birthday. Picture: Henry Woodsford

Volunteers of Congresbury Community Coffee Shop at its first birthday. Picture: Henry Woodsford - Credit: Archant

A community café has celebrated its first year of trading in a village.

Volunteers at Congresbury Community Coffee Shop marked 12 months of serving refreshments to thirsty villagers.

The coffee shop is located in the Debbie Fortune Estate Agents building in Bridge House, which provides the group with free use of the building.

Last year, the group applied for grant funding and had fixtures and fittings donated by Howdens.

A team of 40 volunteers are on the rota, with 12 baking home-made cakes.

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Coffee and machines are provided by Bristol Twenty Coffee Company, which also trained volunteers how to use it.

Ian Sheppard, director of the community benefit society, said: "We began looking at starting a community café around 18 months ago to raise funds and engage with the village hall community hub scheme, but had no where to set up.

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"But when the estate agents opened they had a spare room they did not know what to do with so we came in with an idea which they were happy to take us up on.

"It's great to get a real mix of people coming here for a brew; we have groups of young mums, grandparents with their grandchildren and people coming from other villages for a change of scenery and something they can't get in their own village."

Any profits made by the shop are either put towards the proposed new village hall or re-invested in the community.

Directors have applied for section 106 funding for a gazebo in the courtyard area to encourage dog walkers to use the space and protect people when there is wet weather.

Fundraising events such as big breakfasts for the Great Western Air Ambulance a glut market have taken place in the coffee shop's courtyard.

Ian added: "We would not have been able to do this without Debbie Fortune and her team, they have been great and often pop in for a slice of cake.

"The volunteers love it because they are giving something back to the community and get something out of it too.

"When people come here for the first time, often they say how different it is to other places, which is nice to hear."

The coffee shop is open from 9am to 1pm every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and on the third Saturday of the month.

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