A new community café that also helps the homeless to develop catering skills has opened in Splott today.
The Walker Road Community Café was opened by Grub In A Tub – a social enterprise run by residents of the Salvation Army’s Bute Street hostel for the homeless and vulnerable adults, Ty Gobaith.
For the last two years, Grub In A Tub has been providing “cold weather provision” meals for the Huggard Centre, as well as other city hostels, Salvation Army Centres, and small businesses.
Up to eight volunteers living at the 62-bed Ty Gobaith have been preparing and delivering the meals, as well as developing catering skills on the job.
The scheme has been so successful, it has now introduced a buffet service and opened the community café at the Salvation Army’s Cardiff East Corps and Community Centre on Walker Road in Splott.
Volunteers spent the weekend revamping the centre’s café – which has been closed for the last seven months – and opened for business this morning with a community open day.
Leading the kitchen and 40-cover cafe will be head chef Dilwyn John. In the last year, the 50-year-old experienced chef has managed to move out of the Ty Gobaith hostel and got his own flat in Old St Mellons, but carried on doing relief catering work for the hostel and has now taken the top job in the Walker Road kitchen to help others find their feet again through work.
He was the driving force behind designing the menu for the new café, which includes breakfasts, sandwiches, wraps, and afternoon tea. He said:
“We’ve been really busy, even on our first day. We have had lots of bookings, and people asking for our phone number for the buffets.
“Without Ty Gobaith and Grub In A Tub I would not be here now.”
Dilwyn will be supported by a team of five volunteers, including Aaron Williams. The 22-year-old former Welsh Guard has been staying at Ty Gobaith since October, but said working with Grub In A Tub was helping him to get his confidence back. He is now back at college studying catering, and hopes to be able to move into his own place soon.
“I love the attention to detail – the fussy bits,” he said. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment. If you put your mind to it you can get something done.”
Ty Gobaith manager Susan Allsop said she hoped the project would offer a new community facility for people in Splott to meet and hold events, as well as giving her residents an opportunity to improve their chances of finding work when they leave the hostel.
She said: “It’s been surprising what skills the residents have got, and they can get more training through this. It’s all well and good us working to rehome people, but it’s important to give them a way of getting skills for the future.
“We’re hoping to get a van and start deliveries too. It’s our way of working with the community.”
The Walker Road Community Café will be open Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm. Follow them on Twitter @grubinatub.