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Not Just Sundaes

by Gerry Lynch last modified 06 May, 2014 11:00 PM

Dorset parish opens chic community café in refurbished 14th Century church.

Not Just Sundaes

Bishop Graham shows Annette Brooke MP how to make the perfect ice-cream cone.

Years of planning came to fruition this month when the ‘Not Just Sundaes’ community café, ice-cream parlour and youth hub opened in Wareham’s busy South Street. The official opening took place last week, with the ribbon cutting ceremony jointly carried out by the Right Revd Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne, and local MP, Annette Brooke.

Some years ago, members of local churches, working in conjunction with the town’s partnership, identified a lack of places for young people in the town to socialise in the evening. This led to negative and often inaccurate stereotypes older people had about young people and their behaviour.

At the same time, some older people in the town were facing problems with social isolation and lack of company. So the idea was born for a community café, which could be a hub for young people to ‘hang out’ after school and in the evenings, but serving the whole community, not just young people. Because the café is a non-profit, if customers want to linger for a whole day over a cuppa, they are welcome to do so.

Supported by churchgoers from across denominations, as well as secular agencies, Wareham’s Anglican Parish took the lead in the project, particularly in the person of Ali Bowerman, who chaired the group that brought the project to fruition.

Not Just Sundaes TooNot Just Sundaes is based in what was Holy Trinity Church. As Holy Trinity is barely over a hundred metres from Lady St Mary’s, it has not been used as a regular place of worship for at least a hundred years. Although it had been a tourist office for several decades, before that it was a venue for church youth projects, so in many ways Not Just Sundaes is a return to its roots.

The building has been stunningly converted, with gorgeous original 14th Century brickwork exposed and once more visible to public view, yet housing a café whose design and ambience is at the cutting edge of 2014 coffee-house chic.

The café serves top quality coffee and ice-cream and provides free internet access, right in the heart of this historic Saxon town. If the intermittent arrival of summer sunshine sees you heading for the Dorset coast, why not nip in for a cuppa?

Bottom photograph: crowds pack the gorgeously converted church for the opening.

More photos are available on Facebook, set to be viewed by anyone, whether or not they have a Facebook account. Click here.

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