Cafe celebrates a year in business

Kingfisher Center'West Street'PA1238-21a'Volunteers
Kingfisher Center'West Street'PA1238-21a'Volunteers

A CAFE run by charity volunteers and homeless people is proving a hit with local people just over a year after it was first opened.

It has been an eventful 12 months since the Kingfisher Trust Tea Rooms in West Street opened its doors for business last September, with volunteers even receiving an award from last year’s Chairman of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Kay West, for their work.

When it opened, volunteers and some of Bridlington’s homeless pitched-in to get the cafe ready for customers and a Free Press appeal helped provide kitchen essentials - now it provides the homeless with a three course meal three times a week, as well as opening to the public between 10am and 3.30pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Dave Cooper, chairman of the Kingfisher Trust, said: “It’s been an eventful year since the cafe opened, and the support that we have been getting has been brilliant.

“Everything that the cafe makes goes back towards helping the homeless in the town, and the donations that we receive are also vital.”

Every morning that the cafe is open, homeless people can call in for tea and toast while personal items are also provided if possible. Also, if a homeless person finds accommodation, the team can help them to find furniture.

The interior has recently undergone a refurbishment and now features new floral paintings donated by local artist Rosemary Abrahams, with tablecloths, coasters and paintwork being redone by volunteers to match the new style.

The cafe was also open to visitors throughout the Open Studios art event, which was held over the last two weekends and saw artists open their galleries and studios to the public. Money raised from artists’ fees were donated to the cafe.

Alongside this, the cafe continues to receive other donations - such as food, books and other items - but could do with more.

“Anything that we get helps us, we are always very grateful. We had a lot of food come in around the harvest festival and non-perishables are always useful. Money is a real help though, as it can be spent where it is most needed at a particular time and it gives us real options,” continued Dave.

“As we come up to winter we try to help out and buy duvets and sleeping bags as it’s getting colder. It would also be nice if anyone wanted to lend a hand and volunteer. A lot of the time, the people coming in just need someone to talk to.”

The cafe is run by manager Sam Berry with the help of volunteers, and Dave said that he would love to see more people popping in for a cup of tea or something to eat.

“There are a lot of trades in the homeless population that have helped us enormously in getting the cafe off the ground. Some are very good chefs, others can help us with the interior and maintenance. We would love to see more people coming in and giving it a try.”

However depite a successful first year it has not all been plain sailing, as the cafe was broken into in August.

“They got away with three jars of coffee and about a fiver in cash, but the place was ransacked and the back door needed to be replaced and fixed. It doesn’t help,” added Dave.

The charity works alongside others in the town, including the Hinge centre and Boston Mayflower, and local churches who offer soup kitchens to help the homeless population in the town.

Philip Hardstone, secretary of the Kingfisher Trust, said: “It is about giving people a hand up, rather than a hand out.”