Route 23 Café is open every Tuesday as a space for people to socialise in the Spring Lane Neighbourhood Centre. The café employs local residents and provides volunteering opportunities for people to learn new skills.

Group of volunteers holding coffee outside a cafe

Route 23 is a coffee shop named after the bus route serving Spring Lane area of Canterbury where the project operates. The café is open to all residents and is an important space in the community for people to get together and socialise. There is a lack of accessible places to socialise in the local area and so the café provides an important space for disabled people and older people to meet.

Route 23 currently employs four members of paid staff and works with many more volunteers who gain work experience and develop new skills in the kitchen and front of house area. Having access to well-paid work opportunities provides security for people facing disadvantage and the ability to access essential food and household items. Opportunities to volunteer also benefits people’s mental health and opportunities for people to develop skill sets which can lead to work opportunities.

Three of the people we employ had not had a regular job before they started working at Route 23 so it was very exciting to be able to create those jobs and opportunities for people to develop new skills.

Ellie Overton

Project Manager

Funded by People's Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery London East