Corrina's cafe set to remodel after being refused charitable status

Corrina Young
Corrina Young

A Harrogate community organisation is set to remodel itself after it was refused charitable status.

Corrina’s Homeless and Vulnerable Project was refused charitable status by the charity commission which said it was unable to demonstrate that its activities are exclusively charitable.

The government body which regulates UK charities has also had to contact the organisation to remind it cannot use the legally protected term ‘charity’ to describes itself or activities.

At the time of opening the project’s leader and namesake, Corrina Young planned to run the cafe on a ‘Pay As You Feel’ basis, using food destined for landfill and offering free meals to homeless people.

However Corrina said due to a lack of volunteers between 5pm and 6pm, the cafe had to instead give out takeaway food to homeless and vulnerable people at the end of the day.

She said: “I think it is degrading they have to stand outside and queue up, it wasn’t my intention when I started.”

The situation has also lead to increase in complaints about anti-social behaviour in the area, which the organisation says it is in talks with the police, council, neighbours and other services to try and resolve.

The management team of Corrina and Friends Cafe have decided to run the cafe purely as a soup kitchen for vulnerable and homeless people from January. Corrina said: “That was always my aim, to feed homeless people and to stop food waste. From just one local chain of shops we have stopped £6,00 worth of food going to landfill since August.”

She added that the organisation aims to feed homeless people and has never said that it does more than that, though there is some confusion on social media over what help the organisation offers.

The Project has become something of a social media phenomenon, gathering thousands of supporters online. Corrina admitted she can’t keep track of everything said about the organisation’s work.
“I tell people on Facebook to come down and see what we do, to find out for themselves.”

The soup kitchen will cost an estimated £2,000 per week to operate and the volunteer run group is reapplying for charity status.