Charity coffee shop is already a big success

A NEW hospice coffee shop has already made more than £1,000 before it has officially opened.

Cransley Hospice’s new coffee shop in Kettering, which the town’s deputy mayor Jim Hakewill will officially open on Friday, is proving popular since it started serving tea, coffee and home-made cakes on Monday last week.

Hospice fundraiser Debbie Grant said: “It took more than £1,000 in the first week.

“One of my colleagues went yesterday to have a cup of coffee and she couldn’t get a seat.

“It’s a steady stream of customers.”

An army of volunteers has been busy baking cakes for the shop, which is next to the hospice’s charity shop in Horsemarket.

Despite the encouraging first week total, Mrs Grant hopes the coffee shop will raise more than just money.

She said: “It’s just a place where people can come along and have a cup of coffee and see any events happening, so while having a cup of coffee they might see an advert for the Cransley Road Race and decide to take part.”

The shop also has a wall displaying work by local artists.

A manager and two assistant managers have been employed, creating three new paid jobs in the town.

And more than 20 volunteers have been recruited to run the shop.

Local builders, plumbers and electricians spent several months transforming former gift shop Laurels and Paraphernalia into a cafe.

The workmen had to instal a disabled toilet, divide a storage area to the rear so some space could be used by the hospice shop next door and put in a kitchen, counter and food preparation area.

The hospice had talks with Kettering Council over opening a coffee shop in August after learning Laurels and Paraphernalia would give up its lease in January.

Planning permission was granted in January.

The charity shop, opened in February 2010, has been a big success for the hospice, generating about £140,000 in its first two years.

But whereas the charity shop cost little to set up, the building work needed for cafe conversion means there is a lot of outlay to recoup.

To volunteer at the shop or for more information telephone 01536 527407.