18 Dec
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Better together

Published: 2017-12-18

A shared cup of tea ends up in a weekly café at the Dixon Street Flats.

Like a lot of great ideas, the idea to start a communal café at the Dixon Street Flats was thought of over a cup of tea.

Following the death of an elderly tenant, tenancy managers got together with tenants to see how we could foster more of a sense of community in this block of 117 flats where people mostly live alone. It was clear tenants wanted more interaction and opportunities to meet with support services. The idea of a café was born.

The café opens weekly on the top floor of the flats and offers free coffee and food donated by the Boys and Girls Institute and is staffed by St John’s Church volunteers. There are also plenty of activities including a library, board games and even a piano, which a number of the tenants enjoy playing.

Our case manager for Dixon Street, Sara Calman, says she is proud of the difference the café makes to the lives of residents, particularly how it reduces the risk of isolation. She is also moved by tenants’ enthusiasm – some tenants have even offered to bake for the café.

"The really cool thing is how everyone gets in and contributes what they can. Tenants are donating items for the café: milk jugs, teaspoon holders, a couch, spatulas – they all seem to want to contribute." - Sara

Case manager Sara Calman with tenants Koha, Helen and Daniel.