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Opening of Sunrise community café by Dover Outreach homelessness group after Emmaus venue starts

A new community café hit the ground running on its very first morning.

The Sunrise Café in Dover was so full, within Covid guidelines, that other customers had to wait outside to get a place.

Workers at the Sunrise. Picture: Sam Lennon
Workers at the Sunrise. Picture: Sam Lennon

The venue in Snargate Street, is a project of the Dover Outreach homelessness group and charges on a pay what you can afford basis.

It is the second café by a charity for the homeless to be opened in the town in a week.

The Sunrise was formally unveiled on Saturday by Dover mayor Gordon Cowan.

He said: "It will ensure that those who need a helping hand get the support they need and nourishing meals for themselves and their families.

"This means that everyone, those on benefits, those without access to benefits, will be ensured a welcoming space enjoy food and conversation together. I wish the Sunrise the greatest success."

After Cllr Cowan cut the ribbon there was a blessing from Deacon Michelle Legumi.

Other guest included Dover District Council leader Trevor Bartlett and local MP Natalie Elphicke. She said: “I would like to congratulate everyone at the launch.

“The pay what you can afford model will help families or individuals, who are struggling. This café is a great addition to Dover.

“After a difficult year it is wonderful to see people pulling together and helping each other make ends meet, especially in our community.”

Also there was Noel Beamish, acting CEO of Dover Outreach and music at the opening was provided by an oboe and flute player called Amber.

Dover's MP visits on the Sunrise's first day. Picture; The office of Natalie Elphicke MP
Dover's MP visits on the Sunrise's first day. Picture; The office of Natalie Elphicke MP

The café, based in the former Seafarers Centre, will be open from Mondays to Saturdays.

It serves cooked breakfasts from 8 am, mid-morning coffee and cake, followed by a daily two course lunch served until 2pm.

This social enterprise project had been developed over 18 months and aims to provide food for all, including those who are hungry and struggling to put a meal on the table.

Members of the public are invited to donate and gift meals.

Emmaus Dover on Tuesday last week announced that it had opened its first café.

The Emmaus outdoor café at Archcliffe. Picture: Emmaus Dover
The Emmaus outdoor café at Archcliffe. Picture: Emmaus Dover

Alongside the charity's two shops, the outdoor café will help generate money needed to provide a home, food, work and training for the 27 formerly homeless people it supports – known as companions.

Tea, coffee, cold drinks and homemade cake are on the menu at the café, with a selection of local Solley's Ice Cream on sale. The café, supported by a grant from insurance company, Prudential plc, is based at Emmaus Dover’s community hub, the historic Archcliffe Fort, where companions live, work and socialise.

Debra Stevenson, community manager at Emmaus Dover, says: “We’ve wanted to open up a café on site for a long time and our customers have been asking for it, too.

" 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 secondhand store."

Companion Matthew Stock helped create some beer barrel seats and a table for the café. The seating cover were made by volunteer Matthew Mullen, who runs an upholstery business called Top Cloth from the Emmaus Dover site.

Emmaus Dover’s new café is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. To discover more about the charity, visit emmaus.org.uk/dover.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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