Cafe opens its doors in Gosport with aim of helping veterans

WELCOME From the left are staff members Grace Liddington, Riah Bunce and Kim Ryan  Picture Ian Hargreaves  (170512-1)
WELCOME From the left are staff members Grace Liddington, Riah Bunce and Kim Ryan Picture Ian Hargreaves (170512-1)
Daniel Disney outside the Pyramids Centre. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A NEW cafe is serving up delicious cakes and coffees – all for a good cause.

Customers at the newly-opened Sharpe’s cafe, in High Street, Gosport, can enjoy a cuppa, safe in the knowledge they will be helping a veteran.

The cafe was opened last week by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and Mayor of Gosport Lynn Hook.

It is being run by FirstLight Trust, a charity helping former members of the armed forces and emergency services adjust to civilian life.

Dorinda Wolfe Murray of FirstLight Trust says it’s already proved a welcoming spot for the public and veterans of any rank or age.

‘Many ex-military can feel socially isolated, even lonely,’ said Dorinda. ‘So we’ve developed our coffee bars to be a friendly drop-in for veterans and civilians alike. We help former service personnel of all ages from 19 to 94, so it will be a great place to mix.’

Sharpe’s Café is named after the Rifleman played on TV by Sean Bean.

It offers a range of coffee roasts from the Baytown Coffee Company, specialist Tea Pig blends and treats from traybakes to cakes.

The charity also plans to use the café as a base to run modules to help ex-military get back on their feet.

It was awarded £18,000 by The ABF (The Soldiers’ Charity) and the Childwick Trust contributed £15,000.

Donations were also received from Secretarial Law Ltd, Adrian Swire Charitable Trust, Barclay’s Stockbrokers Charitable Trust, the Anton Jurgens Charitable Trust, Richard Kirkman Trust, and the Astor Foundation.

Dorinda said: ‘Every penny raised helps our work in giving back veterans a sense of value and belonging.

‘We’ve been overwhelmed by the support shown to us by the people of Gosport as we set up. Now they can enjoy a cappuccino and cake, knowing they’re raising money for a great cause.’