La Tour Cycle Café leaves Tower Street and moves to pop-up home on Ipswich Waterfront
- Credit: Archant
A popular community café which transformed into a hub for vulnerable people in Ipswich has left its home in the heart of the town centre.
Child-friendly La Tour Cycle Café opened in a Grade II listed building owned by St Mary-le-Tower parish church back in August 2015.
The following summer a crowdfunding campaign was set up to save the café after its owner Anna Matthews admitted the hub had fallen into rent arrears.
Now the team have managed to find the café – which supports a number of charities, homeless people, refugees and the town’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network – a new home on Ipswich Waterfront.
Mrs Matthews said: “We are delighted that we have found a new home so quickly.
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“It was a very difficult decision to shut our doors in Tower Street but it was a combination of financial problems and finding an alternative venue that brought us to where we are now.
“We want to continue to bring the sense of community we have built with La Tour Cycle Café to the town – particularly to the vulnerable people we have been able to support for the past year and a half.
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She added: “This temporary venue will help us to do that.”
Although the new pop-up hub based in the Mill is currently a “concrete shell”, Mrs Matthews said it will soon be home to a larger version of the original café.
Situated along one of Ipswich’s main cycle routes, the team hope their new location will give them the opportunity to connect with new cyclists.
Working more closely with charities based near the Waterfront and helping the homeless community in this area are also priorities.
While the new pop-up is being developed, Mrs Matthews and her colleague Alexia McEwen are spearheading a campaign to help the cafe continue to support the town’s vulnerable community.
A pilot homeless breakfast project called La Tour Home Hub has already won the support of loyal café customers.
The team are hoping to collect £1,500 to give the homeless community in Ipswich somewhere to eat breakfast and drink coffee two mornings a week.
Talks are ongoing with possible locations for the project to operate out of.
Mrs Matthews added: “The breakfast hub will be something we launch on a pilot basis to see if it works and is popular enough.
“It would be twice a week, with hopefully one of the days being Monday so we can give people a good start to their week.
“It would be somewhere for them to come and have a chat, while having something to eat and drink in a warm and friendly setting.”