THE HUB CAFE: Brookfields, Mill Road, Romsey


Work to prepare the cafe for opening continues as residents who travel down Mill Road will no doubt have noticed.



Just had a very interesting meeting to hear about this exciting project which is starting right now in Romsey.

If anyone would like to help out then please contact

Susie Talbot 01223 699838

George Davidson 01223 576874




A new café will be opening on Mill Road later this year. Planning permission has been given, and building work is due to start in July. The cafe will occupy a building specially converted for its new use, and will incorporate a meeting room which will be available for both commercial and community groups to use.

One aim is to provide a safe and supportive space for those who are stable and motivated in recovery from drug or alcohol misuse to meet, volunteer, work and continue to empower their recovery journey; the other to provide a commercially viable business which will operate as part of the neighbourhood and as a community resource. The Hub café is a joint initiative between the service user community, Cambridgeshire DAAT Team led by Susie Talbot, and the treatment provider INCLUSION led by Paul Pescud; it will be a visible, active, public facing demonstration of the possibility of recovery; it will allow both the wider community and professionals to share skills, training, to host events for music, spoken word, art and IT access.

The design of the café has been led by local architect George Davidson who has made a significant contribution of professional work and is a keen supporter of the project:

‘I am passionate about the power of recovery from the misuse of drugs or alcohol and about this project; it is the most socially worthwhile project I have been involved with in a professional career spanning 37 years and I feel privileged to be a part of it. Although I run a busy architects practice, much of my life is now given to working with the Cambridgeshire drug and alcohol service, where I see lives being transformed through the passion of Susie Talbot, Paul Pescud and their teams. The first Recovery Café, 'THE BRINK', was opened by the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 in Liverpool; since then, recovery hubs have been steadily emerging across the UK, driven in part by a public demand for sober and clean environments. This will be a great project for Cambridge; Public Health England thinks so and has given £100,000 to start it off. What we need now is another £55,000 to complete the building and open the cafe, so please help us'.

The service user involvement includes former service user Gem Blackburn who now runs her own consultancy ‘View from the edge’:

‘Nearly 13 years ago I stopped using heroin & crack, I had no idea how to live a life without drugs, I was lost, alone, desperate & angry. One of most important things that saved me and continues to keep me sane is the company of other recovering addicts. Those wonderful people encouraged me to value myself, empowered and encouraged me to help

others; they taught me how to be a better human. The Hub Café will offer us a place to belong, to be who we are, wherever we are on our journeys whilst giving recovery a visible forum within our local community. Recovery is not just about an individual, it's ripples spread further, family, friends, employers, one recovery seeds so many stories. We've made an amazing start so please support us to make our dream a reality'.

The café is being championed by the DAAT Co-ordinator Susie Talbot:

'This started as a vision over 2 years ago to fill a gap in our service, to help sustain long term recovery. In Cambridgeshire we have developed a team of 'recovery champions', individuals with lived experience, who work with us as volunteers and provide peer support; the Hub will provide a great opportunity to capture their energy and enthusiasm, and to gradually enable service users to take ownership of their business and lives'.

The café has been established as a Community Interest Company which is a form of social enterprise.

We have been moved and delighted by the offers of help and goodwill which the café has already attracted and we need to build on this to make the café a success. We are ambitious and intend to succeed. There is a huge skill set within the recovery community, ranging from professional and commercial experience in catering and management, through to bags of enthusiasm and a desire to make this work and a willingness to learn new skills; we are harnessing these.

The overwhelming view is that this is an important, worthwhile, correctly located, socially responsible, altruistic and philanthropic project for Cambridge, and we would therefore urge you all to give it the support it deserves and needs.

YOU CAN HELP. We need to provide kitchen and cafe equipment and furniture, as well as the outside seating area.

Any donations, particularly financial, would be welcome; all donors will be thanked personally, and recognised on a special plaque to be on permanent display in the cafe.

If you are able to help us, or want to find out more about us and the project, please contact:

Susie Talbot 01223 699838

George Davidson 01223 576874

The Hub Café Steering Group. June 2016.

Susie Talbot, Paul Pescud, Tom Jefford, Lara Watkins, Gem Blackburn, Russell Bowyer, George Davidson.



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