New lease of life for hospice cafe

Karen Witherley and Julie Hildreth (right) with Marc Dollin in the Cosy Cafe
Karen Witherley and Julie Hildreth (right) with Marc Dollin in the Cosy Cafe

A CHARITY venture has changed its tune in a bid to keep the funds rolling in.

The Cosy Cafe opened in Park Road, Hartlepool, almost a year ago to help raise money for Hartlepool and District Hospice.

The cafe did not take off but with a year still to run on the lease, hospice bosses have come up with a new idea.

Instead of serving up snacks and meals, the shop now sells an array of second-hand records, books and DVDs.

Karen Witherley, Hartlepool Hospice area retail manager, said: “As we still had a year on the lease we decided to re-invent it.

“The shop closed before Easter for a re-fit and opened a week last Monday. We are just trying to get the word out now and let people know.

“We hope it will be a great success.”

As well as second-hand goods from donations the shop also sells new hand-made gifts and ornaments.

Light refreshments, including drinks and muffins, are also still available.

As previously reported by the Mail, the hospice has been badly hit by the economic downturn over recent months and has had to look at various ways of generating much-needed funds to keep services running.

The Wells Avenue-based facility costs £2.5m to run each year with 20 per cent funding from the NHS and the remainder raised in the community through donations.

In the last year, it has cut spending by more than £200,000 through voluntary redundancies, vacancy removals and budget cuts.

The shop is currently open Monday to Friday and is manned solely by volunteers.

The hospice is looking for more volunteers to be able to open on Saturdays as well.

Contact the hospice on (01429) 855555 for more information.