Posted on 18th December 2019

A Halton community group has received the backing of Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner to set up a community café to bring local people together.

PCC David Keane has awarded a £5,000 grant from his Safer Communities Fund to Halton Speak Out so they can open the café at Brookvale Community Centre on Northwich Road in Runcorn.

The Hello Community Café will open every day and will be run by community volunteers. It is hoped that it will breathe a new lease of life into the community centre with an on-going calendar of events where the community can were meet representatives from local services including police officers and fire fighters for advice and guidance.

PCC David Keane said: “Vulnerable people in our community need a place in their own community where they can socialise, feel safe and can access vital services otherwise they are in danger of becoming isolated which can lead to issues with mental health.

“The Hello Community Café will provide a sanctuary for many Runcorn residents and it will also help increase engagement between police officers and PCSOs and local residents with it providing a base for them to hold regular surgeries.”

Yvonne Smallman, the project’s lead, added: “We held an event at the centre in July and asked the community why it was currently under-used and what could we do to bring the ‘heart of community’ back into the area. People raised issues such as anti-social behaviour and feeling vulnerable as some of the main reason for not accessing the venue or area around the centre.

“We have already set up an environmental group called ‘Green Angels’ and they have begun to tackle the green area around the community centre focusing on rubbish and fly tipping. Now thanks to funding from PCC David Keane we’re opening the Hello Community Café - a place in the heart of the community where people can meet and feel safe.”

Halton Speak Out is one of hundreds of organisations across Cheshire which has received Safer Communities Funding over the last few years to support crime prevention or meet the objectives within the commissioner’s police and crime plan.

This particular grant was awarded by the commissioner in partnership with Halton Clinic Commissioning Group (CCG) through their Well Halton project.

Chris Carlin, a commissioner at Halton CCG and project manager of Well Halton, added: “Well Halton is excited to be able to partner with the police and crime commissioner - together we can tackle the wider determinates of health.

“People who feel safe, have a sense of purpose and have good social connections are much more likely to have good mental and physical health. Organisations like Halton Speak Out play a key role in supporting vulnerable people and we are pleased to support them with their new café.”