CANON TOM KENNAR: It’s a way to connect to younger families

Karen Lonergan, left, and Paula Skeggs in the Pallant House Play Caf� in Havant
Karen Lonergan, left, and Paula Skeggs in the Pallant House Play Caf� in Havant
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FOR parents with small children, Havant’s newest café is literally a godsend.

The Pallant House Play Café combines great coffee, tasty food and enough toys to keep toddlers happy for hours.

There’s a soft play area, plus wooden dolls’ houses, play shops and train tracks.

The café was created inside Pallant House, a building on The Pallant which is owned by our church.

We spent £25,000 refurbishing the building, working in partnership with two former teachers, Paula and Karen, whose dream it was to create a play café.

Now it is regularly full of parents and children enjoying the chance to chat, play and make friends.

The creation of the play café is just one of the ways in which we aim to care for our buildings and to cater for children and young people in this area.

These are two of our current priorities.

It was created in a space that was formerly a nursery, but which needed structural changes to accommodate a new kitchen and toilets.

We provided the shell of the building, and Paula and Karen created the café inside.

But it was a real partnership to design it, and we worked together for a year to create this.

It only opened towards the end of 2016, but is already so popular that every seat will be taken by lunchtime.

There’s nothing else like this in Havant and word has spread via things like Facebook.

There’s also a space outside for tables and chairs, which will be used in the summer.

This is a way for us to connect with younger families.

Our two curates and I can be available in the café and people can chat to us in a relaxed way they might not have done elsewhere.

If they don’t want to chat, we won’t disturb them.

As well as Pallant House, we also own a thriving charity shop and church hall nearby.

Between them, those buildings host a theatre group, Pentecostal church, two orchestras and a male voice choir, a military charity, Brownies and Rainbows, and groups for addicts.

The Pallant House Play Café is open from 8.45am until 4pm from Mondays to Saturdays. There’s a special kids’ menu.

For more details, see facebook.com/pallanthouseplaycafe.

n St Faith’s Church is in West Street, Havant.

For more information about the church and service times go to stfaith.com.