Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, United Kingdom
The Pelham is a 100 year old railway hotel turned Community Center. Starting life in the early 1900s, it ceased trading in 2009 and the Victorian building, left empty for a number of years, inevitably fell into considerable disrepair. A charity was formed to purchase the property in 2012 with a vision to renovate the building and create a community hub in an area which is officially one of the 10 per cent most deprived areas of the country. The neglected building required considerable costly renovation, paid for by the fund raising efforts of the local community along with some hard-won grants, the generosity of local businesses and the work of a number of committed volunteers.
The first phase of the vision was realized in January this year when The Pelham opened its doors for business. The newly restored ground floor of the building houses The Pelham Coffee Lounge, with a commercial kitchen, a function room and a bathroom with shower for community use opening up in September. There are still two floors and a basement to go. Plans include creating a large function room be used for seminars, training, children’s groups, quiz nights, AGMs, multi-sensory groups and fitness classes plus additional smaller function rooms, hot-desking and community office space and accommodation.
Ollie Jeffs – Project Manager @ The Pelham and now Barista at The Pelham Coffee Lounge – told us:
I first heard about Suspended Coffees through Social Media and was inspired by the stories being shared. Around that time we were opening our Coffee Lounge in The Pelham and looking for creative ways to be inclusive to everyone. The Suspended Coffee movement brings together the generosity of those who can afford a coffee, with those who can’t but still enjoy a drink and a treat.
At first I was concerned that people would ask for something and there would be nothing ‘Suspended’ available, but this has not been the case; we have received over £200 in gifts and the scheme is being enjoyed by a number of people from the community. Our volunteers enjoy being able to serve everyone regardless of how the drinks have been paid for. It has helped us to communicate our vision of being a hub for the community. It is also encouraging to see the kindness of others who contribute.
We’ve enjoyed serving everyone and even treating people to a second drink as a gift from someone else. It has allowed people to feel at home and to be relaxed in the Coffee Lounge.
We believe Suspended Coffees is a great act of community, one which unites people through acts of kindness and allows everyone to enjoy a treat in life.
Visit facebook.com/thepelhambexhill or twitter.com/thepelham to find out more.