Launceston is blessed with a variety of wonderful local hospitality spots, but for many treating yourself to lunch can be an expensive luxury.
Cafe Avodah, formerly the Gateway Cafe, is located in the Gateway Centre in Launceston and aims to provide a great hospitality experience while remaining affordable for all pockets. Jointly managed by Teresa Pickup and Chelo Bate, Cafe Avodah is a community cafe and charity, and reopened to the public on Tuesday, 1st June. Launceston Life went along to see how they’re getting on.
Taking a right turn as you make your way into the Gateway Centre, you will find yourself emerging on Cafe Avodah - a huge, open space perfect for meeting with friends, getting a bite to eat with the kids or gathering a community group together.
Behind the counter, where the magic takes place to produce tasty lunches, coffees and treats, Teresa greeted us and was keen to show us around.
The community cafe has had a revamped menu with delicious lunches, cream teas, cakes and drinks. Teresa told Launceston Life about her vision for the cafe: “I want quality food at an affordable price. We have a unique selling point which is one free refill that can be claimed the day of purchase, and we don’t want to be one of those places that throws people out as soon as they’ve finished their food. If customers want to be here all day, they can.
“All our cakes are homemade - a lady at the church makes them for us. We also have cream teas and savoury cream teas for those who don’t want sweet things.”
With the ethos of Cafe Avodah being centred around providing good quality food which can be affordable to everyone, the team really want to spread the word about the cafe and what they are offering to the community.
“I envisage mums coming in with their little ones and just being able to relax, chat and have a cup of tea. We have a kids area with colouring, Covid-safe toys and equipment so parents can come in and watch them while sitting back and having a drink,” Teresa said. “We have a community table at the back of the room which can be booked by community groups and organisations with no hire fee. We already provide space for groups such as the U3A and Knit and Knatter. All we encourage is that groups buy something like a cup of tea, which is only £1.
“We also have a gardening club. Tesco’s Community Champion Shelley Vanstone has kindly helped us set up the Gateway to Gardening club which aims to get people out of their homes, chatting and making friends with others.
“We are also signed up to the ‘Kick Start’ programme which is a Job Centre initiative. They would provide a long-term unemployed person in the town looking for work, and pay their wage. We would train them for six months and take them through courses like barista training and food hygiene and safety, so the person is employable after six months.
“Our heart is to work with the community and encourage people to learn new skills in a low pressure environment to get them work-ready or provide a volunteer placement.”
The Gateway Centre is a council-owned building, but the team has really worked hard to make Cafe Avodah its own, and hopes to be known as a ‘safe space’ for all. Teresa added: “We want Cafe Avodah to be a safe, friendly place to meet without pressure to spend. We have made the space completely Covid-safe and it’s all been going really well since we reopened last Tuesday. Our coffee and cakes are a big hit - and also the nachos!”
In the spirit of helping others in the community, Cafe Avodah also has a tips jar labelled ‘Feed a Friend’ - with money from the jar being used to feed someone who is experiencing homelessness. “As we are linked to the Gateway Church, it’s our responsibility to do something,” Teresa, whose husband is the pastor at the Gateway Church, said. “Sadly, homelessness is creeping up on Launceston.”
Cornwall Council also visited recently to add Cafe Avodah to its emergency list for school children’s work experience, as they were so impressed by the team’s risk assessments and detailed policies.
With big squishy sofas and plenty of seating, a children’s play area, the community table and plenty of delicious food and drink options, the team at Cafe Avodah hope to see as many faces as possible over the coming weeks.
Teresa added: “It’s been wonderful to see so many faces, old and new. We need more volunteers if anyone would like to offer their time to help us.
“It’s great to be back and thank you to everyone who has come to support us. Our community table is available for groups to book, so if you’re a local group or organisation needing a space to meet, then please message us.”
Cafe Avodah is on Facebook and Instagram. If you would like to find out more about the volunteer opportunities or booking the community table, message their Facebook page or pop in to see them at the Gateway Centre - a friendly smile and slice of delicious homemade cake awaits.
Do you want to tell us about a project, charity or fundraising effort you’re embarking on in the Launceston area? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss a meeting so we can help spread the word.