Charity cafe proves a hit with punters

Kingfisher Trust Tea Room West Street'Pastry Chef Ian McMillan'PA1140-11a
Kingfisher Trust Tea Room West Street'Pastry Chef Ian McMillan'PA1140-11a

A CAFE run by charity volunteers and homeless people is proving a hit with local people.

Since it opened for business just over two weeks ago the Kingfisher Trust Tea Room in West Street has not been short of customers, or new volunteers.

Kingfisher Trust Tea Room West Street'Pastry Chef Ian McMillan'PA1140-11b

Kingfisher Trust Tea Room West Street'Pastry Chef Ian McMillan'PA1140-11b

Jean Dowdney of the Trust who is a full-time volunteer in the kitchen said the help and support they have had from the community has been great.

“Each day we have had people coming for breakfasts, sandwiches, lunches and teas. We did so well during the first week we were able to pay our first month’s rent out of the proceeds,” said Jean.

Free Press publicity about the project, the first of its kind in the area, has also led to the Trust getting more volunteers.

Among them is chef Ian McMillan, 63, who lives off Bempton Lane in Bridington.

A professional chef who has been in the business since he was 15 doing everything from basic cooking to managing hotels and restaurant chains including working at The Spa in 1993, he is a dab hand at pastries, cakes and desserts.

Ian, who describes himself as semi-retired but still looking for work, said: “I think it is a very worthwhile cause. I would not want to be homeless, especially in winter.”

He heard about the tea room as a member of the Bridlington branch of the University of the Third Age, U3A, group, some of whose members have made it a regular haunt.

The Bridlington Sailing Coble Preservation Society is hoping to hold its regular weekly coffee morning meetings there during the winter months.

In his own right, Society member Mike Wilson re-set and laminated new menus for the Tea Rooms and ran off over 100 flyers for them to distribute.

He has also offered to help them with other printing needs such as labels or notices.

The flyers have been distributed in West Street.

“We are offering people who live there to come and have lunch for just £2,” said Jean.

The homeless people themselves who have a wealth of skills are also working doing odd jobs for free for locals.

“Martin”, a regular in the kitchen, was paid in apples by an elderly couple whose garden he cleared up ready for winter.

“They told me to pick my own from their trees. There have been enough to keep us going in apple crumble and apple pie for the past couple of weeks which have proved very popular,” he said.

The room is designed to operate on a commercial basis with any proceeds going to the charity. It is also somewhere for the town’s homeless to use their skills to help run the enterprise and gain enough experience to get back into work.

It also offers somewhere for homeless people to get a hot meal which is provided for them between 4pm and 5pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.

All those who work on the project are unpaid volunteers.