Wetherby’s first donation-based café becomes permanent as cost crisis bites

The Wetherby charity behind the town’s first donation-based café says it’s open to people of all ages as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.

Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE) initially launched its Welcome Café at Wetherby Town Hall to give local people much-needed respite during a winter of rising prices.

But the initiative was so successful, charity bosses have decided to extend the café indefinitely as inflation and interest rates bring new hardship to all sections of the community.

WiSE Chief Operating Officer Mark Dobson, said: “What started out as a short term initiative to help people through winter hardship has proven to be a desperately needed social and economic lifeline to lots of people of all ages right here in Wetherby.

“Although WiSE is best known for its work with isolated, older people, we really want people to understand that the Welcome Café is open to absolutely anyone. You don’t need to be over a certain age and you don’t need a referral- we’ll offer a warm welcome and something to eat to anyone who needs our support.”

The Welcome Café (previously known as the Pay-As-You-Feel Café) has had more than 1,200 visitors since it opened its doors on Tuesday afternoons from October, with patrons making a donation of their choice in exchange for food and company in a warm and welcoming space.

Now- with the café a firm part of the charity’s regular activities- the charity says it needs more volunteers to maintain its life enhancing work.

“We’re always on the look out for volunteers to support our core services and the Welcome Café is no exception. We can only provide this much-needed initiative thanks to the generosity of people who give up their time to make it happen. With the café now becoming a permanent fixture, we would love it for more people to come forward to help,” said Mark.

WiSE’s Welcome Café opens on Tuesdays from 11.30am to 1.30pm at Wetherby Town Hall.

It is supported by organisations including The Oven Door, CLO Coffee, Sainsbury’s and Wetherby & District Foodbank. The café also occasionally has award winning Pies from the Yorkshire Pie Bakery on its menu.

From time-to-time, other local organisations attend the café to offer advice on how people can stay safe, warm and well.

For more information or to volunteer, visit www.w-ise.org.uk

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