Café research

19-coffee-houseHelene, Judith and Ben from the Love’s Farm House volunteers team went to Cambourne this morning to meet the managers of 19 – The Coffee House. It’s located in the foyer of Cambourne Church and is run entirely by volunteers. It’s been in operation for four years and is now open six mornings a week serving tea, coffee, snacks and lunches.

It was great to meet the managers Jacqui and Gerald, and see them making such a great success of the venture. The coffee shop is well used on a daily basis, and is clearly a valuable community resource for the residents of Cambourne. It was really useful hearing about the successes and pitfalls they’ve encountered, and to have a look around their kitchen.

PippinsA couple of weeks ago we visited another volunteer-run coffee shop. Pippins is based at the community room in Hardwick Primary School on the first Saturday of the month. Its manager Anne Jones clearly runs a tight ship with her team of cake bakers, serving staff, washer uppers and other helpers. In a separate meeting she provided us with lots of useful information, particularly regarding setting up a coffee shop from scratch and working with teams of volunteers.

The common thread to both places is a sense that they’re there to serve the community first and foremost. That’s partly through high quality food and drink at reasonable prices, but also with friendly service and a sense of comradeship that comes from working as a team of volunteers. It’s still early days for Love’s Farm House, and a decision is yet to be made as to how we will use our kitchen and café facilities, but 19 and Pippins are interesting case studies for how we could make it work.