Customers pledge to save South Shields' Sea Change cafe during coronavirus crisis

South Shields residents have pledged to save a community cafe which provides a lifeline for people with autism and learning difficulties.

The Sea Change cafe on Ocean Road, South Shields temporarily closed its doors last week, in keeping with government guidance.

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However, Sea Change was among many establishments which preempted the decision, closing to the public on Wednesday, March 18.

This community cafe specialises in organic, locally-sourced ingredients, as well as a good choice of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options alongside its classic dishes.

The community cafe, which provides employment opportunities for people living with autism and learning difficulties, has now launched an crowdfunding campaign in a bid to survive these challenging times.

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Regular customers have raised more than £1,200 by pledging the amount of their usual orders - from a cup of coffee to a meal deal – to receive vouchers for future visits to the cafe.

The Sea Change team are also continuing their partnership with Fare Share NE, to reduce food waste by creating meals from items which would have been thrown away by supermarkets.

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They are offering a delivery service, taking home cooked and affordable food to people’s doorsteps - particularly those who are at home self-isolating.

A ‘pay what you can’ food parcel is also available for customers who may be financially struggling to make any contribution they feel able to afford.

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Sea Change supervisor, Eillidh Skinner commented: "We are trying the best we can to support the needs of our local community whilst keeping safe the future of the cafe and the employment opportunities we provide. It is fantastic to see how many members of the local community have supported this so far.”

Andrew Forster, Sea Change committee member, added: “Like all small businesses and especially those in the hospitality industry, we will find the next few months a real challenge. By providing a ‘pay what you can’ option, we can ensure that customers can receive fresh food no matter what their income is.“

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Orders can be placed by contacting 0191 454 1535 or via Facebook.

Donate to the Sea Change crowdfunding campaign here