Caritas Café and Deli opens on Mill Street for community’s benefit

December 19th, 2013 by Richard Lord

The entrance to the Caritas community Cafe at 35 Mill Street in the Old Quarter of St Peter Port (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The entrance to the Caritas community Cafe at 35 Mill Street in the Old Quarter of St Peter Port (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

The Caritas Community Café and Deli has opened its doors just before Christmas at 35 Mill Street in the Old Quarter of St Peter Port.

The café serves as a welcoming community meeting place.  It is bright and cheery, and decorated with attractive framed art by Guernsey artist Frances Lemmon.

It supports the goals and ethos of the Caritas Comunity Charitable Trust “which supports and nourishes young people in difficulty, in the youth justice system, in distress or in need, to help them grow self-esteem and change lifestyles.”

The Deanery of Guernsey bought the property at 35 Mill Street diagonally across the street from Scope Furnishings and offered Caritas the lease for a peppercorn rent.

Julia Le Moignan who volunteers for Caritas said “the Caritas Café keeps food and drink prices deliberately low for those who cannot afford more but it welcomes higher contributions from those who are able to do so.”

Serving tea in fine China cups at the Caritas Community Cafe and Deli on Mill Street (Click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Julia Le Moignan serves tea in fine China cups at the Caritas Community Cafe and Deli on Mill Street in the Old Quarter of St Peter Port (Click image to expand – ©RLLord)

The idea for the café came about when Julia met Rev Richard Bellinger, the founder of The Caritas Community Charitable Trust, about 18 months ago when she was cooking at the Guernsey Prison for the Caritas deli and café at Saturday morning’s St Martin’s farmers’ market.

Julia, while helping out at the farmers’ market, mentioned that it would be wonderful if Caritas had a café opened every day in St Peter Port.

Rev Richard Bellinger, recognising Julia Le Moignan’s background in catering, thought it was a wonderful idea.

It took a year to find a suitable property in St Peter Port.

The interior of the Caritas Community Cafe is bright and cheerful (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The interior of the Caritas Community Cafe is bright and cheerful (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

Jonathan Le Moignan, Julia’s husband, as project manager, spent the last three months converting the property from a dress shop to a café by installing disabled toilet facilities and a kitchen.

Julia Le Moignan said “we expect lots of colourful characters to pass through the café. We welcome everyone. If people cannot afford a lot we do suspended coffees, which is a global phenomenon that started in Naples.”

“We have started a fund going so if we get people who have no money we can give them a good hot meal and donate it,” she said.

Rev Richard Bellinger has bought job lots of China tea services to serve the coffee and tea.

Upstairs is a meeting room available to charities and other groups (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Upstairs is a meeting room available to charities and other groups (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

Julia said “the upstairs space is being converted into a meeting room for learning arts and crafts and for the use of community and charity groups.  Book shelves are being installed for lots of books from Guernsey Prison.”

Julia hopes that board games and playing cards will be donated too for use by people visiting the Café.

“If there are people who have time on their hands and they are lonely they can come and tidy up or do some dishes and become a part of the café so they feel useful,” she said.

“I think that will help with their mental state. One person came in six days a week to do a lot of the painting of the walls. The person was told he didn’t have to come in on a Saturday but the said that if he didn’t show up he wouldn’t have anyone to speak to all day.”

Caritas Cafe tea pots (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Caritas Café tea pots and poinsettias adorn the windowsill (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“Our volunteers will enroll in a listening course, and do a health and hygiene certificate if they wish to prepare or serve food at the café,” Julia said.

“We want to be here for people and help those who might find it difficult to find a job in the employment market.”

“We welcome everybody. With our work at Guernsey Prison we get ex-offenders coming in to say hello or to help out,” she said.

The café will be a place to meet and make friends and offer an opportunity to learn and volunteer and work together for the benefit of the community.

Caritas rug made by Sandra Crittell (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A rug made for Caritas by Sandra Crittell will decorate the Café wall (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

The Caritas Community Café and Deli is open six days per week from 10 am to 4 pm.

Breakfast is served from 10 am to midday, and lunch from is 12 pm to 2 pm, and afternoon tea is served from 2 pm to 4 pm.

“The hours may be extended towards the summer when the daylight increases,” Julia Le Moignan said.

 

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