Newbury Building Society grant helps keep Kimel Café open after sinkhole wreaks havoc

A £1,000 donation from Newbury Building Society’s Community Support Scheme has helped to keep the doors of a Wokingham community café open after a sinkhole on the road meant a lengthy diversion was in place for four months.

The diversion deterred locals from visiting the café by car, causing customer numbers to plummet. Nic Lander, owner of the Kimel Community Café, estimates that the business has lost around £8,000 because of the disruption.

This money from Newbury Building Society will help us to pay the 17 young people we have working for us. It’s great to volunteer, but they need money coming into their bank accounts, they need a sense of purpose and to feel belonging like everyone else. It is a welcome relief to be able to pay these young people their wages.

Nic Lander, Owner Kimel Community Cafe

In addition to serving food and drink, the Kimel Café provides valuable training experience and work opportunities for neurodivergent young people in the local area. The experience gained at the café allows the trainees to build their confidence and skills, acting as a stepping stone to mainstream employment. Nic continued:

”We started the café because I have three neurodivergent daughters and when I looked at what provisions were out there for them for when they were ready for work, what was there didn’t seem fit for purpose, so we set up the Kimel Foundation to help youngsters get into work. So far, our success rate is 84%, where the national average is just 16%.”

Justine Ransom, Branch Manager at the Wokingham branch of Newbury Building Society met Mr Lander at a local event during the summer: “I later saw on local social media and in the press about the problems that the sink hole and traffic diversions had caused and the impact that this had had on the café. I contacted Nic about our Community Support Scheme and he immediately applied. I was absolutely delighted that Newbury were able to support Kimel Café and the incredibly important work they do with young neurodivergent people in the area.”

Applications for the next round of the Society’s Community Support Scheme close on Friday 28 April 2023. To apply, please click here.

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