A COMMUNITY coffee shop has tasted sweet success since opening two months ago.
And around 200 people turned out to the Pure Ground Coffee Shop and Community Cafe in Milton Village Hall, Milton Road, Portsmouth, to see Pompey hero Linvoy Primus give it an official opening yesterday.
It was also an opportunity to mark the opening of the new extension of the village hall.
The opening realised the long-term vision of Langstone Church and the Milton Village Community Association and brought years of hard work and planning to an end.
Since opening in July, the cafe has become a popular hub in the community, with people of all ages enjoying its hot drinks and home-made food.
The community cafe was set up through a partnership between Langstone Church and Milton Village Community Association, and efforts were boosted thanks to grants from Portsmouth City Council and the Veolia Environmental Trust, which awarded £55,000 to the project.
Speaking at yesterday’s official opening, Linvoy said: ‘When I became a Christian I soon realised that the church is not just about Sunday, it’s about every day of the week and being able to provide a service.
‘I think there should be more facilities where people can gather together from all over the community.
‘You see a lot of pubs closing down and they used to be the social meeting place, but why can’t people meet up in a coffee shop?
‘I think it’s a tremendous place.’
Steve Macfarlane, pastor of Langstone Church, said: ‘It has been really encouraging so far.
‘We have done it with almost no publicity and enough people are coming in to keep staff busy.
‘On a personal level, seeing it finished was one of the most satisfying feelings.
‘The original vision God gave us was three and a half years ago, and the team of people that has been involved so partnership is so important.’
Alison Udy, centre manager of the Milton Village Community Association, said: ‘The hall is doing very well and the coffee shop has exceeded any expectations.
‘It feels as though the hall has grown up and it’s now a community centre.’