Derry’s first honesty cafe proving popular

A new cafe without tills which allows people to pay what they can, is already proving popular since it opened in Derry just over a week ago.

Friday, 28th June 2019, 9:48 am
The Tea Room volunteer, Jamielee Mitchell bringa selection of pastries to the tables of the first Honesty Cafe in the Holywell Trust in Brishop's Street where she was joined by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Cara Hunter, Gerard Deane, Holywell Trust, Lisa Clements, Holywell Trust, Eimear Doherty, volunteer and Jack O'Connor from the Department for Communities. The cafe which serves breakfast lunch coffee and snacks operates on the principle that people can make a donation for their meal and if possibe a little extra to cover something for people who are less fortunate.Picture Martin McKeown.

The honesty cafe, ‘The Tea Room’ at Holywell Trust on Bishop Street, is the first initiative of its kind in the city.

Manager Gerard Deane said the cafe, which is run by volunteers, has been very well received since the shutters went up last week.

“It’s been brilliant, everybody loves it,” he said. “People have said they like the idea of the honesty cafe and they also like the fact that you can sit out in the Garden of Reflection to the rear of our building.

“People in Derry are generally very supportive of each other and especially charitable initiatives - we give a lot more than a lot of other places and we have a lot less.”

Explaining how The Tea Room came about, he added: “It was something we always wanted to do putting a cafe in the building, but we didn’t like the idea of having a traditional cafe with set prices. A range of people use the building here and we didn’t want to exclude anybody or go into direct competition with our neighbours.”

Gerard said the team at Holywell visited the honesty cafe ‘The Dock’ in Belfast before deciding it could work for them. “There is no till and we have three honesty boxes so people can put in to the honesty box what they can. If they have no cash they can donate online on our website. We don’t go around looking to see what people have put in.”

The Tea Room project is offering a basic menu to begin with. “We’re building it up to see what we can do,” Gerard said.

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