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Bransgore Coffee House is appealing for volunteer help in its 25th year

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A POPULAR charity cafe run by volunteers and considered by many to be a village hub is looking for extra help.

The manager of Bransgore Coffee House, Vicky Stimpson, is appealing for people to put in a few hours each month at the Betsy Lane venue, which is run by Bransgore Churches Together.

“We have a great team here and anyone joining will be made very welcome,” said Vicky. “We are a charity so we don’t operate in the same way as other cafes – it’s much more laid back and we tend to work at our own pace. Our customers understand we are all volunteers.”

Bransgore Coffee House is in Betsy Lane
Bransgore Coffee House is in Betsy Lane

Some of those who stopped working at the coffee shop during the pandemic never returned, and volunteers are struggling to cope, with some having to work extra hours particularly in the afternoons.

“We offer full training on the job and there are different roles on offer,” said Vicky. “The cafe has a lovely atmosphere and would be a great place for those looking to meet people and come out of their shell.

“Our customers, who do tend to be more elderly, often come in on their own and they enjoy the chance to have a chat – it gives them a reason to get out and about.

“At the weekends we sometimes have the youngsters volunteering as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award, and we also have students from the Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy.”

Bransgore Coffee House sells light lunches including sandwiches, jacket potatoes, sausage rolls and soup, plus homemade cakes, waffles, milkshakes and hot drinks.

“We try to get as many of our ingredients locally as we can,” said Vicky. “So we use the village butchers Bransgore Country Market and Elizabeth’s Bakery. We make everything fresh here but the prices are quite low.”

Manager Vicky Stimpson with volunteers
Manager Vicky Stimpson with volunteers

The cafe also displays art work by local school children and photos from amateur photographers, as well as selling cards made by Bransgore Art Club. It has also been a drop-off point for donations to New Forest for Ukraine.

“We are very much a part of the community, getting involved in village events like Bransgore’s fun day whenever we can,” said Vicky.

Later this year, the cafe celebrates its 25th birthday, and there are plans afoot for a revamp to mark the occasion.

“We want a new front door and windows to make the place more accessible,” Vicky explained. “So the village should look out for the grand re-opening!”

To volunteer at Bransgore Coffee House, call Vicky on 07454 350932 or email bransgorecoffeehouse@gmail.com

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