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Newbury Educafé faces uncertain future after 3rd birthday celebrations





A weekly community café celebrated its third birthday at Newbury Library this week.

Around 200 guests gathered on Wednesday (June 26) to reflect on Educafé’s work in bringing together different aspects of the the local community since it started in 2021.

Rona Maail, Educafé Co-Founder Clare Middleton, Mayor of Newbury Andy Moore and Educafé Director, Janine Ford
Rona Maail, Educafé Co-Founder Clare Middleton, Mayor of Newbury Andy Moore and Educafé Director, Janine Ford

But the community hub needs urgent funding to survive another three years.

Speaking at the event, Educafé co-founder, Clare Middleton, said: “It is a real pleasure to celebrate Educafé’s third birthday.

“The biggest thank you goes to all our visitors, funders and volunteers for their unwavering support and dedication over the past three years.

Co-Founder, Clare Middleton, reflects on three years of Educafé
Co-Founder, Clare Middleton, reflects on three years of Educafé

“We must all thank Newbury Library for hosting us every week; we couldn’t have Educafé without you.

“Looking to the future, the journey continues. We look forward to seeing everyone again in September.”

Mayor of Newbury, Andy Moore, thanking Educafé volunteers for all their hard work on behalf of the people of Newbury
Mayor of Newbury, Andy Moore, thanking Educafé volunteers for all their hard work on behalf of the people of Newbury

Mayor of Newbury, Andy Moore, congratulated the organisers saying: “On behalf of the people of Newbury, thank you for all you’ve done to make the newest members of our community feel welcome. It really is appreciated.”

Thanks to a previous fundraising drive and some generous donations, the café has sustained itself until now.

Mayor of Newbury, Andy Moore, cutting the cake for Educafé’s third birthday
Mayor of Newbury, Andy Moore, cutting the cake for Educafé’s third birthday

But it needs more funding to continue in its current form beyond September.

“We’re running on our reserves now,” Educafé director, Janine Ford, told newburytoday.

“We need benefactors and people who are going to advocate what we do here.”

The café, which welcomes an average of 150 visitors per week, has become a fully functioning public service, employing four part-time staff and a host of volunteers — though this was never the original intention, claims Miss Ford.

Visitors leave ‘thank you’ messages for Educafé
Visitors leave ‘thank you’ messages for Educafé

The café provides English language support for non-native speakers, maternal help for young families and a knitting corner.

Each section costs around £60,000 a year to run.

“If we don’t get that funding, we’re going to have to stop bits of those projects,” added Miss Ford.

Visitors leave ‘thank you’ messages for Educafé
Visitors leave ‘thank you’ messages for Educafé

“We need some extra buffer funding to keep us going while we secure those bigger contributions, which take time.”

However, Miss Ford revealed the café is expecting a dose of good news come July.



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