Dunmow’s first community cafe celebrates first year birthday

DUNMOW’S juice bar and internet cafe – which was set up by volunteers – is this week celebrating its first birthday.

The juiceproject.com, situated on the corner of Market Place and Stortford Road, was set up to offer something to everyone in the community within a welcoming and accessible environment; the project’s missions statement is “we believe everyone deserves a place in their community and this is the place to be”.

Katy Patrick, one of the founders of the venture, said: “One of the key purposes of the social enterprise is to offer a helping held to local young people who face challenges getting into employment by using the profits from the cafe to fund their wages and training.

“Young people from all walks of life can face challenges in the transition from school to work or college and the juice project offers them work based learning and training as well as support with maths and English, to make sure that the trainees are better equipped to achieve their potential.

“For many, it is mostly a case of gaining confidence to know that they can achieve and have something worthwhile to offer.”

Of the original eight young people who joined the project last November, two have stayed on to gain apprenticeships, two have gone to college, one is joining the army and three others have all moved on to full time employment.

During its first year the cafe has also played host to a variety of free or subsidised community events including Open Mic nights, an internationally renowned art installation, quiz nights and poetry readings.

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During the forthcoming year, music nights are to become a regular feature on the first Tuesday of every month.

The project will also be running weekly homework clubs for nine to 13 year olds and encouraging them to eat healthy breakfast with a subsidised menu.

“Everyone involved in the juice project is looking forward to many more years supporting the Dunmow community and helping their young residents to move into the world of work,” added Mrs Patrick.

“From more information about the project, or to enlist as a volunteer, call Mrs Patrick on 01371 875567 or just pop into the cafe.