Outdoor cafe opens to huge success in Sheffield suburb helping people to combat isolation in pandemic

A Covid-friendly takeaway cafe has opened in Frecheville to support the local community and provide an outdoor space for residents to go in a bid to combat isolation during the pandemic.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 9:35 am

The cafe assembled out of two sheds was set up by Ruth Bartles in partnership with Frecheville Community Centre after they received lottery funding specifically for a Covid friendly outdoor space.

It opened on February 26 as a takeaway service providing food and refreshments to members of the local community as they walk around the local park during the national lockdown.

Cafe operator Ruth Bartles is already a familiar face in the area after setting up Remember When - a memory and conversation cafe which first opened in August 2017 at Frecheville Sports and Social Club but later moved to Hackenthorpe.

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Remember When cafe owner, Ruth Bartles.

Ruth said: “Some people remember me from down the road, and they’ll gather and have a chat.

"A lot of people, whether they know me or not, have said this pond just needed something like this, somewhere to grab a drink while they are feeding the ducks or walking with the kids.

“There’s a war memorial there as well, and particularly on Mother’s Day, people gathered around that and got a drink.

“It’s just somewhere for people to meet now that they can actually meet and sit on a bench.”

The takeaway cafe at Frecheville Community Centre. in Sheffield.

She added: “Remember When is a memory and conversation cafe, so in normal times we try and encourage people in that are becoming isolated or people that can bring their nan or their mom or their dad and we’ll sit people together or we’ll sit and have a chat.

“We sort of help people bring themselves out, meet new people, make new friends in a very relaxed and laid back atmosphere.

“We purposely don’t call ourselves a dementia cafe, but we do support people with dementia and their carers, so we have photos up and some memory books.

“If you were to say to someone, oh we’ll go out this afternoon there’s a dementia cafe open, my nan wouldn’t have wanted to go, but if you go to a cafe and there just happens to be a book with some old photos in you can have a laugh about it, and it creates conversation.

“That was the ethos for the remember when cafe, and we’ve brought that over into the takeaway.

People will chat to us about the pond and how they grew up around there, they remember doing pantomimes at the community centre, and it’s more than just a cup of coffee, and then they’re gone again; it’s a very happy sort of place.

Members of the community can grab a cup of coffee, tea and hot chocolate as well as a selection of homemade food, including soup, quiche, cake, sandwiches, and toasted tea cakes.

In the coming months, when the lockdown restrictions are eased, Ruth plans to have some socially distanced seating in a fenced-off area next to the takeaway to allow people to catch-up.

The takeaway is open Friday to Monday between 9 am and 4:30 pm on the grounds of the Frecheville Community Centre.

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