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'What can we do to help you?' - Launch of new cafe to support a Norfolk community

PUBLISHED: 15:54 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:16 31 October 2019

Access Community Trust's chairman of the board of trustees, Steve Wright (back left) next to chief executive officer, Emma Ratzer (back middle), with their team at the launch of Sams cafe in Thetford, which aims to give back to the community. Photo: Emily Thomson

Access Community Trust's chairman of the board of trustees, Steve Wright (back left) next to chief executive officer, Emma Ratzer (back middle), with their team at the launch of Sams cafe in Thetford, which aims to give back to the community. Photo: Emily Thomson

Emily Thomson

A café which asks communities 'what can we do to help you' has launched in a Norfolk town.

The Access Community Trust have launched 'Sams' cafe  in Thetford. Photo: Emily ThomsonThe Access Community Trust have launched 'Sams' cafe in Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson

The Access Community Trust launched Sam's Café in Tanner Street, Thetford, on Thursday, October 31, as part of a project that gives back to the community.

Any money made through sales will be invested back into services which the charity provides in Thetford, to support those who need it.

Emma Ratzer, chief executive officer, said: "As an organisation we were looking at ways of becoming more sustainable.

"We have been in Thetford for seven years and our first project here was running the John Room house, which is the supported housing project for people that come to us via the homeless services.

Access Community Trust's chairman of the board of trustees, Steve Wright (left) next to chief executive officer, Emma Ratzer, with their team at the launch of Sams cafe in Thetford, which aims to give back to the community. Photo: Emily ThomsonAccess Community Trust's chairman of the board of trustees, Steve Wright (left) next to chief executive officer, Emma Ratzer, with their team at the launch of Sams cafe in Thetford, which aims to give back to the community. Photo: Emily Thomson

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"We asked those living with us at the house, and people within the community, what can we do to help them, and they asked for supported work experience, so we thought Sam's Café would work really well.

"If you have been out of work and unemployed and homeless for 20 years, it's very difficult to get back into the world of work so this is a safe environment for them to do so."

This launch comes after the success of Sam's Café in Lowestoft, which opened in 2016, and now the charity hopes it will help to tackle issues facing Thetford.

Steve Wright, chairman of the board of trustees, said: "We are really passionate about developing services across the region. It's exciting to be able to invest in projects like this where we can give something back to the community and continue to help people, while making Access Community Trust more sustainable for the future."

The café will provide support for its services upstairs at The Crossing, which helps people with their CVs and offers support for recovery from drug or alcohol issues, as well as with mental health, education and employment concerns.

Those using the services may also be given the opportunity to volunteer in the café so they can gain valuable work experience.

Ms Ratzer added: "It's a fantastic space and it has been really well received. It was nice to see lots of agencies at the cafe and hopefully people will come and use it. The message is if you come here and buy a coffee you are supporting the local community."

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