The Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation (BGF) is providing £3,600 towards the core costs of running The Cellar Café in Godalming. The café is an arm of the Warehouse Christian Trust and its principal objective is to provide a secure, affordable and friendly place for disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the community to meet and discuss problems amongst themselves and with café staff and volunteers. Currently the project is run by two part-time members of staff and a team of volunteers.
Over the years, The Cellar Café has opened its arms to many different disadvantaged or misunderstood groups of people in the community, such as those with mental health problems, people with learning difficultues, those with drug or alcohol addiction, and those who have suffered breakdowns or serious illnesses. The team has close relationships with Social Services, Rethink, the Meath Epilepsy Trust, the CAB, local medical practices and churches; people are often referred to The Cellar by these organisations.
Customers who come to the café are offered a listening ear and practical support with their problems. A free meal is available to any who come in need, and at Christmas-time the team distributes food parcels to individuals and local families who are known to be in need. An art group, run in partnership with the Watts Gallery, provides the opportunity for people to find fulfilment and friendship, together with a sense of purpose. A quiet room is also available, providing a refuge and a place for private discussion and for affordable counselling.
Jacky Beale, a trustee of The Warehouse Christian Trust said: “It’s not always obvious in a town like Godalming, but two wards have the highest level of overall deprivation in the Borough of Waverley and the highest risk and incidence of mental health issues in Surrey. The rate of suicide is 25% above the national average and we have the highest rate of depression in Surrey. We are very grateful for this grant from the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation, and the continued support will help us to cope with the increasing needs of our customers, by providing a unique facility in the community.”
Grant-making by the BGF is managed through the Community Foundation for Surrey (CFS), an independent trust which is part of the national network of community foundations. By making grants through CFS, the Foundation is able to keep its costs to a minimum. CFS can also, on occasions, find other sources of funding to support grant applicants.
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