The main aim of the coffee lounge is to provide a friendly welcome and warm hospitality, and to share God’s love. It is becoming known as a place where everyone is welcomed and accepted, regardless of background, lifestyle or circumstances. Guests are shoppers, tourists, visitors, and many people who simply spend time in the marketplace on a daily basis. Some come to have some respite from whatever is happening at home. Some come to escape from the silence and loneliness at home.
The coffee lounge is open Monday to Saturday, 10am-12noon, serving well over a thousand cups of coffee each month for a low charge. The proceeds are split 50/50 between our partner charities and St Nic’s. (NB: the purpose of the Coffee Lounge is not primarily for fund-raising, and the money for St Nic’s is intended for overhead costs connected with the Coffee Lounge only.) In addition, proceeds from special events, when we serve refreshments all day, go direct into St Nic’s funds.
Guests often comment on how much it means to them to be valued as an individual. These are some of the comments
“What I like best about the coffee lounge is the surroundings. It’s peaceful and there are some good people.”
“I first started coming in because there’s help for anyone who needs it, and someone to talk to and pray with.”
“There was a young man who explained what was going on and was so nice I was encouraged to come in.”
“Sometimes I go for days without speaking to anyone. When I’ve been here and talked with people, I feel I’ve done something worthwhile that day.”
“When I started coming here, it felt like my burdens and worries were being washed away.”
“It brings me out, meeting others. It’s helped with my confidence.”
Connections with our partner charities have been strengthened, with representatives coming to special events and services, and staff and service-users often coming to coffee lounge at other times. Waddington Street has used St Nic’s as a venue for a Bring & Buy Sale, and an art exhibition. They have also offered training in Mental Health Awareness, and are a good source of advice and information. The four charities/community groups we are currently supporting are:
The Mayor’s Appeal Charities (Veterans at Ease)
The Big Bin
(Project working with asylum seekers in Stockton which some St Nic’s members are part of)
Waddington Street Centre in Durham
Macmillan Cancer Care