I popped into Beacon Café on Hursley Road on Tuesday morning and was surprised to see the Christmas Café was in full swing!
Beacon Café at St. Boniface Church (SO53 2FT) runs on the first and the third Tuesday of every month, from 10am to 12pm.
Judith Bird from the Parish Church of Chandler’s Ford started Beacon Café in April this year.
I attended Beacon Café a few times before, and it’s a place that makes you feel very welcomed. Everything is free of charge (tea, coffee, lots of cakes, and even a head and shoulders massage! Of course donations are always welcomed.)
Today Judith Bird shares with us the vision of Beacon Café, and how Beacon Café has connected many people in the community in just 9 months.
Tackling the problem of loneliness in Chandler’s Ford
Judith said: “We started the Beacon Café in April 2015 after conversations with a variety of people highlighted the problem of loneliness in our local area.
There are many people who for any number of reasons find themselves on their own, and we simply aim to provide a warm and friendly welcome to anyone who just fancies a chat.”
How is Beacon Café unique?
Judith: There are a team of wonderful volunteers who all have different talents.
We have the lovely Jane who runs a craft table, with a new craft each week, and always knitting – so far our team of knitters have made 4 large blankets which will be shipped out to St. Anne’s Hospital in Tanzania, and they also make Twiddlemuffs , which provide exercise and stimulation for people with dementia.
Our kitchen team do all the hard work, making the tea and coffee and washing up, whilst the remainder of the volunteers just sit around chatting and eating the delicious home-made cakes!
How many visitors do you have?
Judith: We started off with about 20 people attending, and now it’s usually between 30 – 40, though success is never measured in terms of numbers, but by the level of noise!
What’s the highlight of Beacon Café?
Judith: The highlight of the year was definitely the Christmas Café on the 15th of December, with beautifully decorated festive cakes, Rosemary’s stunning sparkling almond mince pies, and a hotly contested Christmas Quiz.
Listening to everyone singing the answers to the Christmas Carol Quiz was one of the highlights of my year!
Looking forward Beacon Café in 2016
Judith: In 2016 we will continue to offer a warm welcome, and delicious cakes, to anyone in need of some company, and all are welcome to pop in (we may even do some more quizzes if I can find difficult enough questions – how come everyone else knows poinsettias are from Mexico – I had no idea!).
Thank you Judith for sharing your work on Beacon Café with us.
I must tell the readers that Beacon Café is also dog-friendly. On Tuesday I met Caroline and her two happy dogs.
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