Compass Café is a community café connecting people, raising funds for local good causes and providing opportunities for volunteering.
It operates every Thursday morning out of the Bethel Baptist Church in Swavesey.
Four organisations run the café (the Anglican church, the Baptist Church, the WI and the Swavesey Festival Committee); each taking a monthly turn to provide volunteers and home baked cakes.
On the occasional fifth Thursday in the month, one of several other village organisations steps in.
Health Visitors also run their clinic alongside the café once a month and toys are provided for young children.
The idea came from Swavesey WI walking group who had seen a community café in another village. They approached local groups to see if there was any interest, then had a meeting to discuss and share their ideas. After, they consulted their local councillor who shared some invaluable knowledge surrounding food hygiene rules which led to them scrapping the lunch idea and settling on cake as the primary source of sustenance!
A venue was found when the Baptist Church offered their building free of charge.
The committee is made up of one person from each of the representative groups, who each take a turn in running the meetings alternating weekly.
The initial price structure was £1 for hot drinks and 50p each for cake and squash but this was later reviewed, by way of a survey to the customers, and cake is now £1 and squash is free.
The committee chose the name and logo, based on the Greenwich Meridian going through Swavesey. They set about advertising their meetings through posters spread throughout the village as well as an 'A' board outside the Baptist Church on their meeting days.
Visit the Compass Café webpage for more information.
The Café is a very low cost venture.
Initial funding was provided by the four main groups that run the meetings who put in £20 each. This was later repaid out of the café’s profits.
The Café retains 10% of the weekly takings to top up consumables and the other 90% is kept by the relevant group on the day. Around £3000 is raised each year through the café for the organisations running it and for other good causes.
The Café is such a huge success that the committee no longer need to meet regularly. The only real need to meet now is to discuss who to donate the excess “kitty” money to. The 10% weekly contributions now more than cover the costs of tea, cake and coffee.
The café was set up by the 4 organisations and did not require external advice.
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