Help wanted! Bring your food, friends & hobbies to the community Cafe

So over the last few months I have been volunteering at the Helping Hands community café. It is run by the brilliant Gary Matthews, assisted by a team of volunteers. The idea is to give people who need it a hand up by giving them the opportunity to learn new skills and gain qualifications, and I have seen first hand what a brilliant concept this is. The atmosphere Gary has created is wonderful and these volunteers are flourishing under his supervision. Consequently, customers receive a lovely warm welcome as soon as they walk through the door.

There has been brilliant support from the community, with generous donations from local businesses, including Coffee Architects, Oken’s Kitchen, Pumpkin and Sprout, Bread for life, and Haddie & Trilby, and of course from the regular support from customers keen to support the brilliant work done by the charity.

It is quite a special thing to see a community coming together and this is what will make this project continue to succeed. The USP as far I can see for this café is the people. Nothing brings people together more than food and a community café provides a real opportunity to do exactly that. This week a local group called Mental Health Together group met for lunch after their walk and talk session in St Nicolas Park and they are already talking about a coffee and crochet event soon. How brilliant is that?

We would really welcome more small groups to come & meet at the café for a cuppa or lunch  & would love it if people could come & share their skills & interests with others for an hour or so one week. We have already had a few people offering to do just that including flower arranging with Julia Mitchell flowers. (details to come later).Please get in touch if you have a little time and something to share.

I volunteer on  a Wednesday so have been preparing some healthy specials to draw in a few people (well mostly friends so far), but it’s a start! We were hoping it might introduce the concept of a guest chef slot with local chefs coming in to be a guest chef for the day. Indeed, this week, the wonderful Anne Marie Lambert from ‘Get cooking!’ (a long standing supporter of the charity) was guest chef with her  tasty pizza parlour. However, in the long term, the guest chef concept might be a challenge. So I’ve had another idea…..

‘Foodie Wednesday?’ OK, the name’s not great but feel free to offer one up! The idea being that local people who make food come in with their produce, give tasters, promote their businesses and meet other like minded people over a cuppa or lunch?  Please do get in touch and let us know when you can join us! (..and suggest a new name if you have one!!)

So if you have an hour or so to spare one week, please bring your food, friends and hobbies to the Helping Hands café at Gateway Café, 4-6 Smith Street, Warwick.  (Open Wed – Friday 10-4 pm) Please contact Gary at





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