Much-missed Caritas Cafe reopens

GUESTS finally returned to the Caritas Cafe yesterday after it closed in March.

Leonore Bouchet-Hibbert cuts the ribbon at the re-opening of Caritas Cafe yesterday. The community cafe had been closed since March. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28647163)
Leonore Bouchet-Hibbert cuts the ribbon at the re-opening of Caritas Cafe yesterday. The community cafe had been closed since March. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28647163)

The Rev. Richard Bellinger founded The Caritas Community LBG in 2007.

Five years later the Mill Street cafe launched where all are welcome, aiming to support young adults, those in need and people in the criminal justice system.

‘The highest quality and service is given, especially for people who have the least,’ said Mr Bellinger.

With a suspended payment system, bills can be overpaid to cover the costs of a meal and drink for another guest.

‘Reciprocity is key: we all have something to give or receive as part of the human condition.’

From home-grown organic ingredients to the hand soap, every effort is made for guests.

During closure regulars called Mr Bellinger to say the cafe was missed.

‘What we do is so important for a lot of people who have nowhere to go, or who can’t afford a meal. This cafe is for everyone. Our tables are there so people can gather together and integrate. It is an absolute joy to reopen and a privilege to be here.’

Surplus money is put towards funding a £1.5m. residential community project, creating a safe house for adults in need.

‘Fundraising is going well, but we could always do with some more philanthropists.’

Cafe co-ordinator Sue Devine said: ‘It’s nice to be back and we’re very happy to see everyone – keep on coming. This is a place of acceptance for everybody, no matter the situation or circumstance. We wanted to be sure that Guernsey was safe from the virus, and got everything swizzed up. We have definitely missed our regulars a lot.

‘We painted inside and out, cleaned top to bottom and one of our restaurateur volunteers made a whole new menu. We grow organic fruit, veg and ingredients in the market gardens in St Peter’s.’

Everyone involved is a volunteer or Les Nicolles prison resident.

‘People in the prison make some cakes for us to sell here, and before Covid restrictions worked here and tended our garden.’

Usually there are 12 to 15 cafe volunteers needed weekly, roughly six for the Farmer’s Market and three in the garden.’

‘One in the garden has been there for eight years.’

n More volunteers are needed for the Farmer’s Market.

Please contact office@caritas.org.gg or call 712138 if you are interested.

Caritas Cafe is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am until 2pm.

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