A Wetherby older persons’ charity has begun making plans to reopen a much-loved café lifeline for older people.
Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE) says it is tentatively preparing for a June reopening in line with the Government’s roadmap – provided Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations continue to fall.
The charity’s three-day-a-week WiSE Owl Café in Boston Spa offered a safe space to socialise for dozens of isolated older people- but was forced to shut its doors when the pandemic first hit last year.
WiSE Chief Operating Officer Mark Dobson said: “Like so many people, we’re extremely cautious about what the next few weeks and months might bring. At the same time though, we’re really excited to finally be in a position to at least start thinking about reopening our café which we know brings so much joy to older people- many of whom have had virtually no contact with the outside world for more than a year now.
“It goes without saying that the safety of our staff, volunteers and service users will be the number one priority for us ahead of any potential reopening. We intend to take things slowly and safely, offering a limited menu and outdoor seated service towards the end of June at first, before hopefully fully reopening from July provided everything is going in the right direction.
“But hope is so important to people right now. That’s why I think it’s so important that we announce these plans to restore a wonderful facility which was once the vibrant, beating heart of the community it services.”
As well as catering for the older community, the WiSE Owl Café is also open to young mums with pre-school children, dog walkers, cyclists and anyone else who would enjoy it.
Christine Hardman, Café Manager, added: It’s a huge relief to start planning a safe reopening. All our wonderful volunteers are equally keen to return which is essential to reopening and my colleague Jane and I are very grateful to them.”
Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE) is a registered charity organisation part-funded by Leeds City Council. Its aim is to improve the quality of life for the over 60s by providing community-based activities, information, help and support.
It was recently presented with a special award by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Eileen Taylor in recognition of its efforts during the pandemic so far.