by Nigel Smith (Community Journalist)
‘An idea which has legs.’ So said Cllr Marian Livingston, Mayor of Reading, at the opening of the Caversham Community Café (the 3Cs). She was commenting on the concept of community cafés.
Cllr Livingston explained that this is the second community café she has opened in recent months. Using churches as cafés, she said, was a great example of effective use of large community spaces and volunteers to provide valuable community facilities.
The new café is situated in St John the Baptist Church in Gosbrook Road. It is a not-for-profit venture set up by the Lower Caversham Community Partnership (LCCP) and is run entirely by volunteers.
Responding to the Mayor’s speech and speaking on behalf of the LCCP, Rev Jeremy Tear, community priest at St John’s, thanked all those who had helped to set up the café. He also acknowledged the generosity of the Big Lottery Fund, Reading Springboard and the Parish of Caversham Thameside and Mapledurham, which have all provided financial support for the initiative.
Rev. Mike Smith, recently appointed Rector of Caversham Thameside and Mapledurham, which includes St John the Baptist Church, believes this is a ‘marvellous example of the Church opening itself to serve the local community to provide a much-needed resource.’ He went on to explain that it will ‘encourage the community to see that church is more than just a Sunday activity.’
Richard Purkis, a member of LCCP who helped set up the café, was delighted with the event. He commented, ‘this is a brilliant turn-out. It’s great to see so many people from all over Lower Caversham and a number of local councillors too. The café will provide a welcoming place where you can meet friends or simply read a book whilst enjoying a high-quality cup of coffee at a reasonable price’.
The café sells freshly ground fairtrade coffee along with teas, hot chocolate, cakes and biscuits. Initially people in Lower Caversham will be able to use it every Tuesday between 9.30am and 2.30pm. It is hoped to increase opening hours as demand increases.
Learn more at www.stjohnthebaptistcaversham.org.uk/3cs-cafe/