Harrogate’s first ‘pay as you feel’ community cafe opened its doors today.
The brainchild of Harrogate campaigner Corrina Young the community cafe on Mayfield Grove combines a pay as you feel service in the day time and offers food for homeless and vulnerable people between 5pm and 6pm.
Customers can choose to ‘suspend’ a meal of a drink for someone less fortunate to pick up at the end of the day.
The concept has been welcomed in the community and was visited by the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Jim Clark.
Corrina said: “The reaction has been great, it has been really busy and people seem to be behind the idea.”
The not for profit initiative is run entirely by volunteers. Corrina first started to offer weekly meals for homeless and vulnerable people in Harrogate last year.
She says between 30 and 60 people a week have been attending the weekly meals and she hopes they will come to the cafe for support.
“People are surprised that in a town like Harrogate there are residents homeless and hungry. They include those sleeping rough who through no fault of their own have found themselves on the streets and families who have fallen through the holes in the welfare support net. We have entire families who come to our Sunday meal.”
She added: “With profits from the café we plan to extend the free dinners to at least twice a week and to provide emergency food parcels. When we close the café at the end of the day we invite people who are homeless or vulnerable in some way, to come in for any suspended or surplus food and drink.
“As well as offering food we will offer advice, we can provide useful information and signpost people in the right direction to the relevant local resources.
“People might come to us for many reasons. They will be living hand to mouth with just enough money to pay bills and buy food, when a big unexpected bill comes in then they can turn to us for food.”
Have you been to the cafe? What do you think? Comment below or find us on Facebook