Hot Pots Café celebrates third anniversary
A thriving community café has weathered the worst of the Covid pandemic to celebrate its third anniversary.
Hot Pots in March supports people with learning difficulties to gain skills suitable for employment, and despite a challenging 18 months it continues to provide a great service to customers.
The café was set up by Cambridgeshire County Council to help volunteers build their confidence before seeking work, and the benefits continue to be felt with many getting stuck in by making cakes, toasties, jacket potatoes, paninis and a variety of coffees, while also serving customers.
The café had to reduce its opening times to two days a week during the worst of the pandemic, but is now open from 10.30am to 2.30pm, Monday to Wednesday at March Community Centre, as well as Thursdays and Fridays at March Town Cricket Club.
A successful takeaway service has also been launched, as well as a bakery at the cricket club.
To celebrate its third birthday last week, a raffle was held, while customers could enjoy cake and a coffee for just £2.50.
Kayleigh Dring, employment skills worker at the council, said: “I am so proud that Hot Pots coffee shop and bakery is celebrating three years of being open. I couldn’t be more proud of the volunteers that work so hard and how, over the three years, we have grown so much by opening five days a week and giving 11 individuals the opportunity to volunteer in a work environment.
“We are now also pleased to announce that we are open as a bakery Thursdays and Fridays where customers can buy treat boxes and birthday cakes.”
Councillor Richard Howitt, chair of Cambridgeshire’s adults and health committee, said: "I had a wonderful visit to Hot Pots Coffee Shop & Bakery.
"The trainees told me how pleased there were to be back working now their café is fully reopened, and the benefits of the understanding and confidence-building environment which the project offers.
"I was also deeply impressed that the people with learning difficulties were undertaking home deliveries of food to people in need during the lockdown, even when they couldn’t welcome customers in to the café itself.
"Congratulations for the success of two of the trainees recently: one who has achieved an apprenticeship in open employment and another who is working as an advocate for other people with learning disabilities for the excellent VoiceAbility Cambridgeshire.
"The whole visit was rounded off with tea and home-baked cake, also celebrating that it is the third anniversary of the café’s opening!"
“It is wonderful to see Hot Pots go from strength to strength during such a difficult time. It is inspiring to hear about how much more confident the volunteers become during their placements, and I look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries to come.”
You can follow Hots Pots Café on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/hotpotscafecambridgeshire/.