The project has been running for over seven years, with a focus on providing low-cost, freshly-cooked, hot meals for local communities.
During the pandemic, the Cafe Together team cooked and delivered hot meals to people’s homes, along with essential shopping.
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And staff are now welcoming the community back through the doors of Easington Colliery Methodist church, with lunches to eat in or takeaway on Thursdays, as well as a new friendship and support session every Wednesday.
Julie Laidler, project coordinator, said: “The grant from believe housing makes a massive difference to the community, because it means we can keep the project going.
“When we started the sit-down lunches again, we recognised that there is a need for more support to get people out and back into the community. Many of them have lost close friends; people who got them out of the house.”
The new Wednesday group offers the opportunity to join in with games and activities, which Julie says encourages people to chat about their interests or any challenges they may be facing. Cafe Together also invites a range of community groups to attend the sessions, including craft clubs and support groups for people living with long-term health conditions.
The NEFirst Credit Union is another regular at the Thursday lunches, offering diners financial and debt management advice.
Debbie Howe, community investment coordinator at Believe Housing, said: “We’re delighted to award the Cafe Together project this funding. They have worked hard to keep people connected through the pandemic and they’re in the perfect position to continue their support in the Easington community.
“We really appreciate the value of the work that Julie and her team of volunteers do.”
Julie added her thanks to the Cafe Together volunteers for the work they do and the community for their efforts.
Believe Housing is also now accepting applications for cash from its Large Community Revenue Grant scheme.
For more information on believe housing community grants, call 0300 131199 or email [email protected]