MP helps get charity cafe on right track

This Is Wiltshire: Dick Millard, the chairman of trustees, shift leader Kirsty Cummings, MP Justin Tomlinson, cafe manager  Phyllida Richards and cafe assistant Rhiannon Holbrook Dick Millard, the chairman of trustees, shift leader Kirsty Cummings, MP Justin Tomlinson, cafe manager Phyllida Richards and cafe assistant Rhiannon Holbrook

STAFF at a cafe which supports people with mental illness were able to go on a special cookery course thanks to First Great Western.

The Olive Tree Cafe in the Manor Garden Centre, Cheney Manor, is dedicated to supporting people recovering or at risk of suffering poor mental health, by providing work in a cafe open to the public and helping them to develop the confidence they need to get into mainstream employment.

When the cafe realised they needed to pay for a new boiler, they decided to hold a charity auction and approached North Swindon MP, Justin Tomlinson, for suggestions of any raffle prizes.

Justin contacted First Great Western, who donated two rail tickets from Swindon to Paddington as part of a prize of Tea for Two at the Ritz.

The rail company then offered another £200 to pay for a cookery training course for the staff at the cafe.

Gillian Barber, a Trustee of the Olive Tree Cafe, said: “I think it was fantastic that Justin was able to support us and that First Great Western gave us the tickets and the grant.

“Justin also came in to try out a new recipe we have just added to the menu.”

The vast majority of staff at the Olive Tree Cafe are volunteers, and the cafe relies on donations and grants for therapeutic costs while using trading profits to develop the business.

Jane Jones, external relations manager with First Great Western, said: “First Great Western look to support the local communities where we serve. “When Justin Tomlinson called us about the Olive Tree Cafe needing some extra help we were delighted to be able to work with him and the cafe and support the great work they are doing.”

Justin, who has helped a number of different charities and organisations around Swindon secure support and grants from local business, was pleased to be able to help the cafe.

He said: “I was delighted to help secure funding from First Great Western to support the fantastic Olive Tree Cafe. The Olive Tree Cafe is a thriving community project, helping support people recovering from mental illness or at risk of suffering mental illness by providing them with positive, work-related opportunities in a café open to the public in order to take them a step nearer to the world of work.”

For more information about the Olive Tree Cafe, or to find out how to volunteer or donate, visit www.theolivetreecafe.org.uk, email olivetreecafeswindon@gmail.com or call 01793 533152.

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