Spotlight on The Friendship Café
The Friendship Café is one of Gloucester’s busiest and buzziest landmarks.
Set up as a charity, it offers a range of facilities and activities that are used with gusto by the community at large - but particularly children and families living in the nearby Barton and Tredworth areas of the city.
Visitors to any of the Friendship Café’s three sites will find a youth and community centre, a gym and even a city farm. They can take part in all sorts of active pursuits – everything from archery, swimming, youth clubs, to self-defence and horse riding (from November 2015).
The secret of the Friendship Café’s success has been its ability to build strong links with community groups and its willingness to work closely with local organisations.
As a result, the charity has successfully brought people from different faiths and backgrounds together through a shared enjoyment of the activities it offers.
Perhaps the charity’s most rewarding but challenging project to date has been the regeneration of St James’ City Farm in the centre of Gloucester.
Four years ago, the original farm was earmarked for closure. But the team running the Friendship Café charity was adamant that a city farm was too valuable a resource to risk losing. That’s when it made the decision to take over the St James’ farm site from the council.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers and a small handful of staff, the farm is now one of the most popular attractions of the Friendship Café. And not just with the thousands of visitors. Local people regularly snap up the chance to volunteer to work in the gardens, tend to the animals or serve customers in the café.
Simple to use
Most of the workers at the Friendship Café are volunteers but there are still many other costs that need to be met by the charity.
Funds need to be raised to make sure activities remain free - or at least subsidised.
So when it comes to online fundraising, the charity remains an enthusiastic user of MyDonate.
Imran Atcha, coordinator for the Friendship Café, says: “We chose MyDonate as it was simple to set up and receive payments. All donations go to charity, with no administration fee. MyDonate even claims the Gift Aid back for us which is worth 25 per cent on top of the donation.”