Chatterbox 5th Birthday! P1020683

On Friday 24th May 2015 Chatterbox Café celebrated its 5th birthday with over 120 friends, a cake, balloons and lots of reminiscing.
Carolyn, Dave, Julia and Bill have been ‘behind the scenes’ since the beginning, although Julia and Bill missed the opening on as they were stuck in Switzerland because of the Icelandic ash cloud!
Many of those present on the first morning had also been there in 2010 when the café first opened but there were also those who had come to be regulars over the ensuring years. The cake was cut by the café’s oldest customer Fred—at least we think he is, short of checking all birth certificates! See Fred below with some of the other gentlemen who come, read the papers and put the world to rights. George and Ralph are among them, and they have been coming since the start. They are the early birds who are often the café’s first customers and for whom café discussions continue as they make their way to their respective homes afterwards. They mentioned how they have got to know people through the café whom they might not otherwise have met and how they miss it if they are not there.
When the café first opened Hannah Murray was a very pregnant mum of one who soon afterwards gave birth to twins. For her, Chatterbox became her Friday social. A chance to meet with friends, share gossip and have a safe and fun time for the children in their own play area.
“Children who have grown up coming to Chatterbox miss it when they start at school full time and they enjoy visiting in the holidays”.
There are now regular customers from Lucerne House and other homes in Alphington. A group of friends who walk each Friday build a stop at the café into their route. And it is not just the customers who appreciate the café, many of the wonderfully cheerful and committed waitresses and kitchen staff talk of how much they enjoy their work and have loved the opportunity to serve the community of Alphington.
Chris and Viv Collins could remember the days before the café even opened—attending meetings held to discuss the practicalities and to decide upon a name. It was Chris who came up with the name and only later was it noticed that there was a house of the same name in Chudleigh Road. (Chattertots & Lunchbox were named similarly!)
The amazing success of the venture was agreed by all those who were present at the birthday: “the food is wonderful – home made cakes - all donated”, “I always have Bill’s hot chocolate whatever the weather”, “every week, every month, is it really five years?” A look at the past year’s accounts will show you that the café just covers its costs — amazingly that has happened every year since it started! It isn’t, and was never intended to be, a fundraising venture. The hire charge of the Village Hall, the cost of good quality fair-trade provisions and any new equip-ment have to be paid for out of the donations that customers leave. That was the vision of those who stepped out in faith at the start, and it still is.
P1020676  P1020642  P1020646

Kathy Rowden, 24/05/2015

 Church Life 
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St Michaels Alphington - we meet at
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