New funding helps volunteer project bring Easington community together

Visitors to Cafe Together in Easington will continue to receive a warm welcome, friendship and support thanks to a £7,000 grant from believe housing.

For more than seven years, the team of dedicated volunteers at Cafe Together have been providing low-cost, freshly cooked hot meals for those people who need them in the local community, emphasising that everyone is welcome.

During the pandemic, the Cafe Together team cooked and delivered hot meals to people’s homes, along with essential shopping. They are now welcoming the community back to Easington Colliery Methodist church, with lunches to eat in or takeaway on Thursdays, and a new friendship and support session every Wednesday.

The new Wednesday group offers the opportunity to join in with games and activities, which act as an ice breaker to encourage people to chat about their interests or any challenges they may be facing. Cafe Together are also inviting a range of community groups to attend the sessions, including craft clubs and support groups for people living with long-term health conditions.

A credit union regularly attends lunches on a Thursday, offering people financial and debt management advice.

Julie Laidler, project coordinator for Cafe Together, said: ‘The grant from believe housing makes a massive difference to the community, because it means we can keep the project going.

‘During the pandemic we didn’t ask for payment because people were struggling, so we were desperate for money. And 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, the people who got them out of the house.

‘We want to give them the confidence to come out and get together with other people and groups they can connect with.’

believe housing awards annual grants worth a total of £255,000 to help communities and groups fund a variety of projects and initiatives.

Allyson Carr, tenancy sustainment officer 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 through the weekly lunch club and friendship groups.

‘We really appreciate the value of the work that Julie and her team of volunteers do.’

Cafe Together sessions are held at Easington Colliery Methodist Church on Seaside Lane. If you would like to attend a session, please contact Julie Laidler on Facebook by searching for @CAFETogether, call 07935 837 131 or email info@cafetogether.org.

Picture by Steve Brock Photography.

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