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Charity opens a new community cafe in town

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 February 2017

First Focus have opened a new community cafe in Fakenham. Pictured are (from left) April Simnor, Clarissa Belson, Jess Lemon and Sara Sayer. Picture: Ian Burt

First Focus have opened a new community cafe in Fakenham. Pictured are (from left) April Simnor, Clarissa Belson, Jess Lemon and Sara Sayer. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

A charity which has helped thousands of people in the Fakenham area over the last 14 years has opened a new community cafe in the town centre.

First Focus launched the venture in Millers Walk, where Honey’s Cafe used to be based, on Monday.

First Focus manager April Simnor said there has been good feedback.

She said: “People have been really positive and I think they are happy to see this building open again and doing something good for the town.”

The cafe is being run by First Focus staff and volunteers and is open from Mondays to Fridays, between 9am and 3pm.

All profits made will help the charity continue its vital work.

First Focus has supported thousands of people in the Fakenham area over the last 14 years.

It provides a social centre for people who feel isolated and arranges professional advice on numerous issues.

The charity support adults who are socially isolated, for various reasons, and disabled people and their carers, who needed easy access to information.

It hosts clubs and support groups and provides an outreach service to support people in isolated rural areas.

First Focus is based on Oak Street, behind Fakenham Library.

Mrs Simnor said: “It’s about making us more accessible. The cafe is open to anyone who wants to come in for a drink and something to eat, but also provides a warm and relaxed environment for anyone who may need our support to come in and speak with our trained staff and volunteers.”

In 2015, First Focus announced it could close within weeks if new funding had not been found. But support, including a £3,000 grant raised by the EDP and Fakenham and Wells Times’ joint Let’s Fight for Fakenham campaign, ensured that it survived.

Since then the charity has gone from strength to strength. It was awarded a £285,352 grant from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund and has expanded out to the Dereham area.

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