Describe your best practice
We set up a community café in the heart of a high crime area. Situated within a local community centre.

What did you do and why?
The local PCSO, who also is a skilled baker, and myself approached the local community centre in an area where there is high crime, low morale etc. We had held meetings in the meeting rooms previously and the café in the centre had been closed for some time. Visitor numbers to the centre were low. We identified a need for the community to be able to come together to talk freely about crime in their area in a relaxed and safe atmosphere. We went on a Food Safety course and passed. We then agreed to have the café rent free for 6 months, to see how it went. We took on volunteers to help staff the café, so the only overheads were the food. We worked also in partnership with a local charity to provide FREE meals for children during school holidays. We opened for three days a week.

Duration of the project

What worked well?
The community centre were very much behind the Community Café idea and were very supportive. The community quickly found coming to the café a relaxing experience.

How did you overcome any challenges?
Relying on a few volunteers is always a stretch, however getting the right ones makes a huge difference. Food shopping was a big deal and took up time, however, we also ended up getting the food delivered to us on a weekly basis to be able to sell. We made our own cakes, as this did not cost much.

How did you cover any costs?
The costs of the food came out of the money raised by selling the products. The kitchen equipment was already there and the tables and chairs were brought by the community centre.

Force/ Borough area
LB Greenwich

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