24th May, 2020

Church cafe in Coventry to become permanent victim of coronavirus pandemic

John Carlon 8th Apr, 2020 Updated: 8th Apr, 2020

A CITY centre cafe run by volunteers has announced its permanent shutdown.

Wesley’s Cafe, based at the Methodist Central Hall in New Union Street, said in a statement it has closed due to the coronavirus crisis.

The bookings managers of the Methodist hall have also spoken of how coronavirus has ‘decimated’ the community spaces.

Posting on social media, Wesley’s Cafe said: “It is with such sadness that we must announce the cafe has closed permanently.

“We know that this will be incredibly upsetting to many of you, it is to us too. Wesley’s has been serving food to the people of Coventry for 31 years.

“It was a safe space to many, especially the elderly. It was a place of learning for our volunteers and school placement students, many of whom would never had an opportunity to develop skills elsewhere.

“It was a meeting place for groups, a listening ear for the lonely and it offered friendship and care.

“We have tried desperately hard to avoid closure, but the influx of so many restaurants into the city, trying to trade on a building site for over three years with the construction of the Wave followed by the work directly outside, and finally, Covid-19 has made this decision inevitable.

“We would like to say thank you to all of you who supported us with your custom, to all our volunteers who gave their time, and above all to Steve and Julie, who simply were Wesley’s.”

The cafe, in the Methodist Central Hall, supports the work of the Methodist Church in Coventry.

As well as the cafe, the central hall is also a venue for blood donations and the winter night shelter for rough sleepers.

Its managers, Amanda Bicknell and Jayne Nowell, said in a statement: “These last weeks have been, without doubt, the worst in the Coventry Central Hall’s lettings business history. Covid-19 has absolutely decimated us.

“We are a non for profit enterprise that solely exist to financially support the fantastic work of the Methodist church. As far as we can work out we are entitled to absolutely no financial support from the government.

“We have not charged a penny in cancellation fees in an effort to keep the many small business afloat who use this place.

“Following the latest government guidelines our building is now only being used by the Blood donation services. Stringent measures are being put in place by the nurses to ensure that anyone coming to give blood is safe. We have provided extra space to the nurses at no extra cost so that social distancing can be carefully enforced. Extra cleaning will take place before and after every session.

“We ask that you spare a thought for Marcus, our caretaker, as he soldiers on, keeping our building clean and safe and for Michael who has entered self-isolation for many months.”

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