On Tuesday morning, I went to the Beacon Café at St. Boniface Church on Hursley Road for some refreshment (ok, plus more than one piece of home-made cake).
I got there just after 11am, and saw people were happily solving Christmas quizzes, which involved identifying some very old (at least to me) British TV sitcoms. From the participants’ enthusiastic discussions and laughter, I could tell they knew most of the answers while reminiscing the good old days.
Beacon Café opens every First and Third Tuesday morning from 10am to 12pm, at St. Boniface Church. The cafe gives local people (especially people who are on their own, or those visiting Park Surgery) a place to rest their feet, relax, chat, and have a nice cup of freshly brewed tea or coffee (and lots of homemade cake).
I have been to Beacon Café a few times with friends, and have got to know a few new friends young and old, and have also met a few rather lovely dogs.
This cafe is warm and welcoming. This community reminds me of what a traditional ‘village’ must have been like in the old days. It’s where people get to know each other and call each other by their names; people share what they’ve been up to, talk about their ups and downs, share updates about their children and grandchildren…
If you are new to Chandler’s Ford
If you are new to Hursley Road, or new to Chandler’s Ford, finding a comfortable place for you to rest and have someone to talk to is so important, yet it seems very difficult. As an outsider myself, I remember the acute sense of loneliness when I first moved to Chandler’s Ford 17 years ago. I wish then there was a cafe like this close by.
Tackling problem of loneliness in Chandler’s Ford
At Beacon Café, you can enjoy freshly brewed coffee and tea, homemade cakes, read magazines, and just chat with people. There are regular volunteers who will also bring tea to your table (Thank you Jim, one cup of tea for me is enough), and check if you need another piece of cake (just imagine you’re in a restaurant: “Is everything ok?” “Would you like another cup of coffee?”).
One great thing is that there is always a craft table with a new project each time. Jane Duxbury is an unsung hero leading the craft projects, whose creativity and patience I admire deeply.
Judith Bird started the Beacon Café in April 2015 after conversations with a variety of people highlighted the problem of loneliness in Chandler’s Ford.
Judith Bird: Offering a comfortable place
Judith said, “The most satisfying thing about the Beacon Café has been offering people a comfortable place to come, either on their own or with friends. With an amazing team of volunteers, we offer a warm welcome, and there will always be someone to chat to.”
“We have a few people who come along who have recently lost a spouse. Going out on their own for the first time has been difficult, but they have taken the first step and enjoyed the welcome (and the cake!), and appreciated having others to chat to who are in similar circumstances.”
“This is the second Christmas we have celebrated at the Beacon Café, and have had great morning with a fun quiz and lots of festive treats. A good time was had by all!”
When does the Beacon Café open in 2017?
January: 3rd, 17th
February: 7th, 21st
March: 7th, 21st
April: 4th, 18th
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