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Community café in Barrow open for business

Barrow Mayor Cllr Bill McEwan helps out at Brathay Café, a new community café opened at The Hub. He is pictured L-R: with Brathay’s Community Engagement Officer, Rebecca Brown, and café volunteers Dean Weindling (21) and Tom Herdman (20).

A bright and welcoming community café run by volunteers in Barrow town centre has opened to the public.

Brathay Café, on the ground floor of The Hub on Cavendish Street, was opened by the Mayor, Cllr Bill McEwan, who also found himself behind the counter helping out.

Proving that many hands make light work, Cllr McEwan saw the queue starting to build and quickly stepped in to assist volunteers with coffee making and serving up sandwiches and cakes.

The café takes its name from Brathay Trust, one of the charitable organisations based at The Hub, the Project John Centre that supports and advises young people in Barrow. Brathay supports the work carried out by Project John by delivering interactive programmes that help children, young people and families improve their chances in life – achieved by inspiring them to engage with their local communities.

‘The café is the perfect addition to many other excellent services now being offered at The Hub,’ said Cllr McEwan. ‘I’ve been a long supporter of Project John and I am delighted with the success of The Hub and everything that is happening here. It’s a fantastic resource for the young people of our town and it is very exciting to see so many different charities and local agencies coming together under the one roof for the benefit of local residents.’

Although Brathay works mainly with young people, the café is open to everyone. Brathay’s Community Engagement Officer, Rebecca Brown, said that anyone passing by or shopping in the town centre is warmly invited to pop in and try it out: ‘Not only will they be supporting a worthwhile local cause but they will hopefully enjoy a decent cup of tea or coffee and snacks at a very fair price in a modern, friendly cafe,’ she said.

Brathay Cafe is open Monday-Friday from 11am-2pm and serves hot drinks, cakes and sandwiches. Catering students at Furness College will provide tasty homemade soup.

Brathay Youth Worker, Natalie Wealleans-Turner, also based at The Hub, said the café was a welcome community resource: ‘Brathay has a long connection with the people of Barrow and now, thanks to The Hub, we have a permanent presence here. The café is another important anchor point in terms of offering local people an inviting shared space where they can meet up, make new friends and even tap into the many key services available on site.’

As well as Brathay Café, The Hub offers young people a range of support and guidance around housing, benefits, debt management, independent living, parenting and employability skills. Brathay has supported the work of Project John with community initiatives such as BeSAVY (Be Safe and Value Yourself) and an innovative Talking Histories project.

Anyone interesting in volunteering a few hours a week to help out in the café should email Rebecca Brown at [email protected]

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