Homeless charity work inspires cafe opening

ALL SMILES From left, Georgia Tully, owner Kathie East, manager Tracey Burns and Anne Hinkley.Mayoress of Fareham Carole Steadman and Mayor of Fareham Cllr Dennis Steadman officially opened Kraftea in West Street Fareham.   Picture: Allan Hutchings (131094-465)
ALL SMILES From left, Georgia Tully, owner Kathie East, manager Tracey Burns and Anne Hinkley.Mayoress of Fareham Carole Steadman and Mayor of Fareham Cllr Dennis Steadman officially opened Kraftea in West Street Fareham. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131094-465)

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IT WAS while working with a homeless charity that Kathie East came up with the idea for an alcohol-free venue where people could meet up in the evenings.

And it has now became a reality as she opened her cafe, Kraftea Coffee in Fareham.

But while most coffee shops close around the same time as regular shops, the West Street cafe stays open until 10pm, Monday to Friday and 8pm on Saturdays.

Kathie said: ‘If you don’t want to drink alcohol, there’s not really many places for you go and just relax.

‘When I was working for Two Saints, I was running a chat and chill club for people from 16 to 24.

‘I’d been doing that for a while, and this kind of grew from that.

‘This isn’t just for young people though, I want it to be welcoming for people of all ages. I’ve been talking to social groups who are interested in using it as somewhere to meet.

‘This is the first time I’ve run my own business, so it does feel like I’ve thrown myself in at the deep end.

‘It was a bridal wear shop here before, so when they put the “for sale” sign up, I tentatively came in to talk to them.

‘They weren’t leaving because business was bad, but because they were doing more online, which was reassuring to hear. I’ve got the lease for three years at the moment with the hope that I will be here much longer.

‘There are other cafes around here, but it’s healthy to have competition, and I think we all offer different things.’

And with her interest in arts and crafts, Kathie is selling work by other local artists.

She is also hoping to put on musical acts in the evening.

Anyone interested in selling their crafts or inquiring about performing can contact Kathie via email at krafteacoffee@hotmail.com