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Tameside community cafe needs your help after ‘soul-destroying’ flood in run up to Christmas

Infinity-Initiatives charity have suffered a devastating blow in the run up to Christmas as a burst pipe has all but destroyed their community cafe in Tameside

Teddy bears, books, donations and food have been destroyed in the flood.

Infinity-Initiatives run a community cafe in Tameside, with a pay what you can service, free food stand provision and an emergency food bank.

They are a vital service which offer lots of activities, support and counselling for the most vulnerable in the area.

They are now hoping the Greater Manchester Community can pull together to raise £5,000 as Christmas approaches.

They have launched a go fund me to help rebuild their cafe.

Speaking to I Love MCR, Gemma Whittaker, Manager said: “On Friday we were completely devastated to see our cafe, office space and counselling room absolutely trashed following a burst pipe from the flats above.

“A real sign of the times as they’d burst owing to people not being able to afford to put their heating on and ironically these are the people that need our service now more than ever.

“Seeing so many toys and food parcels which had been donated for Christmas thrown away along with items we’ve worked so so hard to fund was soul destroying so for everyone who’s offered to help replace, thank you. It means the world.

“We have a dehumidifier in but the place is still drenched and so we can’t take in any donations at all, we have to keep the space clear.

“What we do know though is that no children will go without gifts, no families will go without food.

“There are plans in place to keep on one way or another and it’s thanks to our wonderful community we have these plans in place.”

At the time of writing, their go fund me approached nearly £4,000, but we think Manchester can do better than that.

If you’d like to donate, please follow the link here to ensure they can continue doing their amazing work across Tameside this Christmas.

Despite the setbacks, the outlook at the cafe remains positive.

Today they are running their community Christmas Dinner at the Cafe to help people who may have been alone at Christmas enjoy a turkey dinner, crackers, puddings, gifts and great company.

The show must go on!

Gemma said: “We needed a lift today. The volunteers have been great and this is for them really. We’ve cracked on and had a laugh to keep spirits high but its been upsetting so we needed today.

“We’ve had to shift things around and get a bit cosy but we’ve made it work.

“It’s been great to see people having a nice time with their hats on having a laugh.

“Unfortunately, we’ve got furniture drying out, electrical items and carpets drying too, so we ultimately don’t yet know the extent of the damage.

“One of the big concerns now is the price of our next energy bill, having to keep the heaters and dehumidifier is really adding up.

“It was a massive worry anyway because we can’t secure funding for heating. In the new year we’re hoping to look at ways of generating funds for our heating.

“If we can’t put the heating on and cook dinners, there’s no café.

“The wallpaper is starting to peel off. We are still going, trying to keep positive. Everything is ultimately replaceable, it’s just going to take some time to get there.”

Gemma said they would take things day by day into the new year.

At the end of the day she safety was paramount to service users, but conceded that a lot of the service users need the services they provide more than ever over the Christmas and New Year period.

The cafe is open to everyone who needs it, and their services are not just centred around mental health and poverty.

Anybody who needs to eat can access services and chat to staff, with no stigma or labels.

People are welcome to drop in , but they do offer remote support as well.

Gemma said that anybody looking for their services and up to date information should follow them on social media, on Facebook and Twitter.

She said:  “Free food isn’t means tested, that’s because we work with supermarkets to stop food going to landfill. We encourage everyone to come down and use this service if they need it.

“We have a pay what can offer every morning,  which very discreet and people can just pop their donations in the box.

“We have a cheap menu in the afternoon because we found people wanted to pay when they could. They felt like they were taking it off someone who needed it more. People feel like they are helping if they are paying.

“We also have a pay it forward wall, where you can buy the next person a dinner.

“Nobody leaves here hungry.”

Unfortunately their computers were also damaged, so if you have a spare one you’d like to donate please call 01613396137.

Please dig deep and help an amazing Manchester charity keep up their amazing work this Christmas. 

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Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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