“It’s probably going to be needed for a long time,” said the owner of a new community café which has opened in Wantage to help people in need.

Kate Farrington opened the Down to Earth Café at The Old Stables Makespace in the middle of December.

The café is a training and surplus food pop-up community café which Ms Farrington opened after being inspired by her volunteer work during the first coronavirus lockdown.

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She hopes the space can help people by providing food and socialising opportunities.

“I’m hoping the cost-of-living crisis will calm down,” said Ms Farrington. “But it’s probably going to be needed for a long time.

“The café is accessible for everybody because the crisis is impacting a lot of people and it’s accessing these people as well as running the café as a social enterprise – it’s finding that balance.”

Ms Farrington came up with the idea for the café while working for The Mix Community Fridge during 2020.

She said: “I’ve been keen to get into the sustainable food sector and I love cooking and bringing people together around food.

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“During the lockdown, I was helping out packing bags which would be delivered to people in need and it made me realise how much surplus food is out there and also the huge need for it – people are struggling.

“So I thought it would be a nice idea to open a community café. They are opening up everywhere now so it’s not my original idea of course but I thought Wantage could do with one.”

While waiting for a premise to open up for the café, Ms Farrington held pop-up cook out events as well as holding cooking classes for children.

She said: “I started doing training through Good Food Oxford which was amazing as it encourages people to cook using not an awful lot and being more creative in the kitchen and developing your own recipes rather than spending more morning.

“I used the training to help other adults as well and did some cooking classes with children which I hope to continue in the café.”

Finally space opened up in the previous Health and Wellbeing Centre in Stirlings Close which has closed since 2017.

“It’s a lovely space,” said Ms Farrington. “Makespace refurbished it and has let it out to different businesses so it’s a big mixed space.

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“It’s great but I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it if I didn’t have so much support from people.

“I’ve received quite a bit of funding from various people as well and they’ve all been so positive and so helpful – it has been amazing.”


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @geeharland