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New community café is a huge success

A new community café at Greatwood and Horseclose Community Centre in Skipton has been a great hit with residents.

Scoff cafe

Scoff Café reopened on June 10 and has proved very popular, bringing people together and making a small profit for the community.

Experienced chef Ray Marfell is volunteering in the kitchen, having been a chef for 30 years and worked in a number of places including the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate.

He moved to Skipton three years ago and settled in Roughaw Close Sheltered Housing. "I started doing a lunch club, cooking for 24 residents once a month and organising coffee mornings and bingo sessions," he said.

"When the sheltered housing closed I moved just opposite the school and they asked me to join the residents' association. They used to run the café before and they wanted someone to take over. I was unemployed at the time so I took it on - I've since started working at Cotton Traders but they very kindly allow me to have Wednesdays off so I can still come and run the café."

The café serves a range of open sandwiches, omelettes, jacket potatoes, coffees, teas, home-made scones and cakes. It is currently open every Wednesday from 12.30pm, serving lunches until about 2pm and then doing teas such as beans on toast until about 4pm.

"It's been very popular which is really nice to see," said Ray. "We're hoping to get a grant for better cooking equipment and then we'll be able to put a more varied menu together.

"We're also asking customers what they would like to see on the menu. We haven't opened this for us - it's for the community."

Centre manager Karen McIntyre said: "It's great to see so many people volunteering in the café and so many customers. It helps get people out of the house and talking to each other. It can be a step on the road for people to get a job as well - it gives them a bit of confidence."

Pat Haygarth, from the local residents' association, is one of the volunteers. She said: "The café has brought different people in to the centre and got more people involved in the community. We do it because we enjoy it and for the company."

The centre is becoming increasingly popular, with a number of activities including a crèche which runs three mornings a week, a knitting group, a sewing group, a youth club, bingo, a job club and exercise classes.

The café has reopened following a successful trial during the autumn half-term break last year. It's being supported by South Skipton Project, a community initiative which is supported by Craven District Council, Yorkshire Housing, Sanctuary Housing, Jephson Housing, North Yorkshire County Council, Skipton Town Council and North Yorkshire Police.

For more information on the café or any other activities at the community centre, call 01756 701386 or email