'Delighted we can support more people' - community café opens in Ipswich

The Royal Oak cafe has opened in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich

Jill Dibben area retail manager, Claire Staddon CEO, Amy Wragg charted manager apprentice outside the new cafe PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Emmaus Suffolk has opened its new community café, shop and support hub at the former Royal Oak pub on Felixstowe Road, Ipswich. 

The new community space welcomed its first customers this morning, December 1, with the charity's CEO thanking everyone who "helped make our dream...a reality".

A new Emmaus cafe and shop has opened at the former Royal Oak pub in Ipswich

The cafe will serve food from 9am to 4pm, Wednesday to Saturday, with hot food ending at 2pm PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Food will be served at the café every Wednesday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm and there will be access to Emmaus support services - aimed at helping vulnerable, socially isolated or long-term unemployed people and those at risk of homelessness. 

Like the charity's other social enterprises in Ipswich and Felixstowe, the café and shop will also provide volunteering opportunities as part of a model that has seen many Emmaus Suffolk volunteers to move on to employment, training or education. 

A new Emmaus cafe and shop has opened at the former Royal Oak pub in Ipswich

Customers enjoying the new Emmaus community cafe PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A preview event for the new community space was held last Friday, with the deputy mayor of Ipswich Borough Council, Cllr John Cook, Inspire Suffolk, Lofty Heights, Ipswich Housing Action Group, Do Good Networking and Terry Waite CBE, president of Emmaus UK, in attendance. 

The event also marked the fifth anniversary of Emmaus Suffolk. 

A new Emmaus cafe and shop has opened at the former Royal Oak pub in Ipswich

The former Royal Oak pub in Ipswich has been turned into a community cafe, shop and support centre PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Claire Staddon, CEO of Emmaus Suffolk, said: "I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the past five years here in Suffolk.  

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"We've supported almost 400 people through our support hubs and volunteering opportunities, and I am delighted that we can now support even more people thanks to the opening of our community café, shop and hub at the Royal Oak. 

"Thank you to everyone who has helped to make our dream of a café, shop and hub at the Royal Oak a reality, from those organisations and individuals who have donated money, to all our volunteers who have cleaned, painted and helped to bring it to life, and to our customers who support our work by visiting our shops and social enterprises." 

A new Emmaus cafe and shop has opened at the former Royal Oak pub in Ipswich

The community cafe also has a Emmaus shop PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Funding and support for the Royal Oak community café was provided by The Big Lottery Community Fund, Suffolk Freemasons, Rope Trust, Hopestead, Albert Hunt, Birkett Long, Food & Drink Fund and The Suffolk Community Foundation.