Cafe given two weeks notice to close for Coventry cathedral building work - The Coventry Observer

14th Aug, 2022

Cafe given two weeks notice to close for Coventry cathedral building work

John Carlon 21st Feb, 2020

WORK to build an extension at Coventry Cathedral has made a popular cafe without a venue.

Rising Cafe, based in the cathedral’s refectory, was told to move out with only a fortnight’s notice.

Run by a charity providing work opportunities for recovering addicts, the cafe will close at the end of February.

Phil Colbourne, manager of Rising, said: “As yet we’re still waiting for confirmation for some possible moves, but at the moment we have no clear day to reopen.

“We will cease trading on the 29th, as we have to move out by March 2 to enable works to commence.

“We are now in a waiting period for something else to come through.

“Our customers have given us a fantastic response. We have around 20 staff who are all volunteers, going through recovery for substance issues or mental health.

“The cafe gives them a sense of pride and self-esteem – these were people who have struggled with mental health and homelessness.

“The charity will try to find other opportunities for them as they provide gardening services and furniture stores. But the loss of income will have an impact, due to the suddenness of it.

“We knew work would start but it was getting pushed back and pushed back. We knew there was going to be closure, though we were told last week our last day would be two weeks away.

“The goal is to come back here, we want to stay in Coventry and the cathedral’s aim is to get us back.

“It’s looking like ten months until then. We are still taking bookings for afternoon tea, until our closure on February 29.”

The cathedral has plans to redevelop the north side of the landmark cathedral, spending £3million on a pavilion designed for accessibility.

Rev John Witcombe, dean of the cathedral, told the Observer: “We are sincerely sorry for the disruption to the Rising Cafe and their valuable work in the cathedral.

“The need to complete the building work to develop the Cathedral’s hospitality within the time available to be able to re-open in time for City of Culture 2021 is very challenging and precise timescales have emerged late in the process.

“We have been working hard with Rising to secure alternative accommodation during the building work and to enable them to sustain their work during this transition period and we look forward to welcoming them back into a renewed space at the end of the year, or sooner if that is possible.”

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