Kettering cafe run by Johnny’s Happy Place to extend its opening times

Denise Mackay and Johnny's sister Charlotte with Philip Hollobone MP and High Sheriff of Northamptonshire at the launch of Johnny Mackay's book

Denise Mackay and Johnny's sister Charlotte with Philip Hollobone MP and High Sheriff of Northamptonshire at the launch of Johnny Mackay's book

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A cafe run by the family and friends of a man who took his own life is to extend its opening hours due to its popularity.

Johnny’s Happy Place was set up as a charity following the death of Johnny Mackay after he took his own life on October 23, 2014, at the age of 29.

Johnny Mackay

Johnny Mackay

The charity wanted to open a space dedicated to supporting people like Johnny and after being given space at Keystone Youth Centre in Rockingham Road, Kettering, their cafe opened for the first time in August.

It started by opening on a Saturday only, but the popularity of the cafe has led to the opening times being extended to include several hours on a Sunday as well.

Johnny’s mum Denise Mackay of Kettering said: “We have only been opening on a Saturday from 10am to 4pm but because it is going so well with people coming in all the time, we are going to open from 11am to 2pm on a Sunday.

“When we first opened, we didn’t know if we would be busy or not, but now we are getting busy.

“We have lots of craft stuff out for the children and they make cards and flowers, the whole place has been buzzing with activity.

“We had a wonderful Saturday about three weeks ago when some people brought some exotic animals in and they are coming back on January 23, it was immensely popular.

“The food is selling well.

“Some people come in every week and then every now and then we get new people in.”

The cafe, which serves a range of items to eat and drink, started by opening on a Saturday as the charity felt there is not much available at weekends for people with mental health issues.

It is hoped the extra opening hours will mean they can support more people in the community who need help or are just looking for somewhere safe and friendly where they can go to talk and meet other people.

Denise added: “We get everybody in, but we are trying to attract people that have nobody in their lives.”

And Johnny’s Happy Place is not the only group trying to help people in the Kettering area as the Open Doors Church at the Eden Centre in Montagu Street, Kettering, is serving meals from its Hub on Mondays.

Denise, who is keen to promote the work of the church in helping people who are homeless or struggle to buy food, said: “They are serving meals to people who can’t afford it.

“Meals are served to those people and they will give out clothes if they need it.

“We need to get it out there, more and more people need to know that the facility is there.”

For more information about Johnny’s Happy Place, go to www.johnnyshappyplace.com.

The cafe will be open for the first time on a Sunday this weekend (January 10.)

For more details about the Hub, go to opendoorchurch.org.uk.