One of the projects helped by our Sustainable Development Fund is Mandell’s Coffee Pot. In a letter displayed in the Parish Rooms at Embleton, Janet Applegarth, the project team leader, explains how the project has grown from its small beginnings …
In 2012, an experiment to open the Parish Church Room in Embleton as Mandell’s Coffee Pot - initially for the duration of the summer holidays - has now become a viable community project. The name came from Mandell Creighton, who had been Vicar of Embleton from 1875–1884, and later became Bishop of London.
The room, although basically of sound construction had fallen into disrepair and apart from church meetings was hardly used. There was no grand plan or any idea that such a transformation would be possible.
As of November 2016, the following work had been completed (in stages)
- New access path and ramps for disabled access
- Development of the small garden with the help of volunteers
- Purchase of kitchen equipment – some self-funding
- Secondary double glazing
- Loft insulation
- Roof gulley repairs – self funded
- Installation of a Sadia water heater – invaluable for tea and coffee making
- Installation of Renewable energy – Air to Air heating system – which is very efficient and heats the room quickly.
- Total refurbishment of the toilet (with disabled access) and kitchen – which has transformed the building
- New curtains and fittings are in place
- A volunteer has completed the interior decoration
Mandell's Coffee Pot is open for four morning each week during summer and two mornings during winter. There is regular attendance by members of the local community, who have welcomed new residents. This group of customers are mainly retired and many live alone. it is also enjoyed by visitors, some who are now returning annually.
A group of parents with pre-nursery and pre-school children will commence weekly meetings in January. The liaison with the group and setting up has been done by Church Warden Christine Hunter.
The room was fully booked for additional Saturday coffee mornings in December.
The project is a base for Community Action Northumberland’s (CAN) Community Agents Scheme.
CAN initiated Warm Hub lunches are taking place in addition to the usual Coffee Pot provision..
A special four day event took place in December to exhibit nativity scenes from around the world. This was sponsored via CAN as part of the Smart Meter initiative.
Community Action Northumberland have been a great support, inspiration and help. They provided a valuable heating audit prior to the installation of the heating system and £200 of funding for equipment for soup lunches and paint for the re-decorating.
The room is booked for a Rag Rugging workshop in February.
Embleton Women’s Institute are booking the room which is an ideal size for some of their meetings using the Creighton Village Hall for larger gatherings.
Supportive exchange continues with the Creighton Hall.
Coffee Pot customers have provided valuable additional help at summer events.
Volunteers are enjoying the experience and building confidence.
Needless to say, all the grants awarded have now been spent along with our own fundraising.
Errors were made in the calculation of VAT for the kitchen and toilet refurbishment and there were extra costs for plumbing, electrical work and flooring. VAT for the air to air renewable energy heating system was calculated at 5% but on receipt of the bill we learned that we did not qualify at that rate because we were not a domestic property. Lessons have been learned and with support in the form of a small bridging loan from Holy Trinity we move on.
New flooring for the main room will be the final stage of the refurbishment which we will be able to cover from our own fundraising in due course.
After almost five years we are now confident that we have a popular and viable community facility which will enable us to continue to cover our costs for heating, maintenance and insurance.
In the longer term the room will continue to be managed by a team of seven serving as a sub- committee of Holy Trinity PCC. Fund raising events for other charitable organisations both locally and further afield will be part of future planning.
Finally a huge thank you to all who have shown confidence in our project and supported our grant applications.
A list of our sponsors will be displayed.
Please come back if you have any further enquiries.
Project Team Leader