A new café in Morecambe aims to help people struggling with low incomes as well as strengthening the “weakest links” in the community.
Mohammed Ali Ashcroft, 38, from Birmingham, and his partner Nikki, re-opened the Coffee Pot on December 28, and it will be the first café in Morecambe to offer Halal meat and vegan and vegetarian food.
Mr Ashcroft said he had spent around £16,000 bringing the café in Marine Road West back up to scratch, and hopes that it will become a community hub once again.
He said: “We came up here on a family visit and we realised how run down it is, how much people are struggling.
“There are charities up and running, but they’re missing a key point, which is that people have nowhere to go together as a community to strengthen the weakest link.
“I spent a lot of time on the streets, and so did my partner over the years.
“I came out of the army and I ended up in a heap, but the foodbanks can only do so much.
“We offer meals for those who are less fortunate, free meals for homeless people, and half price for those who have been sanctioned on Universal Credit.
“We’ve started up something called Health and Wellbeing, for parents on a low income who can’t afford to give their kids a decent meal.
“Anyone who is disabled or mentally ill can come in and sit and chat, stroke the dogs, watch the flames in the fire and feel comfortable. We’re looking at other projects where we can make sure children have toys to play with.”
Mr Ashcroft said the café will be open between 7am and 9pm, which he thinks is a key thing for people living in the local area.
“We’ve got people here that desperately need some support and help,” he said.
“One issue is that most of the cafés open at 9am and close in the afternoon, which doesn’t help the community because people need places to meet outside of these hours.
“We’ll also be raising money through donations for community projects, and we’re working alongside The Exchange and the Carleton on other community ventures.
“We just want people to know that we are here and that we can help.”
Mr Ashcroft added that the cafe offered a £1 breakfast “and it’s a good portion”.
The Coffee Pot opened on December 28, and aims to have extended opening hours.