Original article from Kent Live
A homelessness charity has opened up a new café to raise money for people left sleeping rough.
The Dover charity, which already runs two shops, will use the funds raised by the outdoor café to provide a home, food, work and training for 27 formerly homeless people.
The café in Archcliffe Fort has been supported by a grant from insurance company Prudential plc.
Debra Stevenson, community manager at Emmaus Dover said: “We’ve wanted to open up a café on site for a long time and our customers have been asking for it, too.
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“The views from the Fort are beautiful, overlooking the sea and White Cliffs, so it’s a great spot for people to come and meet for a cuppa or relax after shopping at our second-hand store.
“The café will also give our companions the opportunity to complete barista training, as we’ve just had a state-of-the-art coffee machine fitted in memory of one of our wonderful companions Jason Petersen, who sadly passed away last year.”
The seating for the café is made from old beer barrels and was designed by former homeless resident, Matthew Stock.
Seating covers made from old coffee sacks were up-cycled and fitted by volunteer Matthew Mullen who runs an upholstery business called Top Cloth from the Emmaus Dover site.
Matthew said: “I started using jute coffee sacks for up-cycling furniture in 2019.
"I’ve enjoyed working with this material on footstools and dining chairs in the past, and this latest range of seating is the most impressive and versatile, as the seat pads are removable from the barrel so they won’t get ruined in the rain.”
The café will be open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and will sell tea, coffee, cold drinks and homemade cakes, along with a selection of local Solley’s Ice Cream.
Emmaus Dover offers up to 27 people who have experienced homelessness a place to call home and meaningful work in its social enterprises.
Alongside its charity shops in Dover and Ashford, Emmaus runs services including house clearances, upholstery and gardening – with all proceeds helping people to overcome homelessness.
There are 29 Emmaus communities across the UK, supporting more than 850 homeless people, who are referred to as ‘companions’.
Emmaus’ research shows that for every £1 invested in an Emmaus community, there is an £11 return with savings to the benefits bill, health services and a reduction in crime reoffending.
To discover more about the charity, visit emmaus.org.uk/dover