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Barnaby’s coffee

17 October 2014

EARLIER this month, the village of Swanmore, in Portsmouth diocese, acquired its own modern coffee shop - in the church hall - and some properly trained baristas, including the Vicar of St Barnabas's, the Revd Claire Towns (below). The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, came to open it officially, to sample the coffee, and to congratulate the volunteers.

It has been a £20,000 project to open Barnaby's Coffee Shop, and to provide a relaxed space for coffee, cake, and chat. The scheme was supported with a grant of £5000 from the diocese's Mission Opportunities Fund, £5000 from the church itself, and £6500 from private donations.

Members of the congregation worked hard to transform what had been a Victorian schoolroom into a modern coffee-shop with coffee machines, atmospheric lighting, comfortable seating, and Wi-Fi. The coffee is Colombian, and the volunteer baristas are able to serve everything from Americanos to macchiatos.

"It's part of our vision to use our buildings better," the churchwarden, Janet Chant, says, "and also to make sure that there is somewhere in the village where people can have a decent cup of coffee and a chat. Everyone enjoys a good cup of coffee, and we're right at the heart of the village, with the school across the road and the nursery in the church hall. . .

"We are working with Kingdom Coffee to make sure that our coffee is Fairtrade and ethical. We've also been inviting our congregation to test different types of coffee after Sunday services to decide which tastes best."

The first regular customers are expected to be the mothers who drop off their children at St Barnabas C of E Primary School, just across the road, or those from the Greenery Nursery School.

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