Friday 4th October, 2019

Coffee that tastes (and does) good

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Cara Coffee, a new social enterprise that Romsey Mill has developed in partnership with Great Shelford Free Church, opened its doors and served its first coffee, earlier this year

Cara Coffee is on the High Street, Great Shelford, in premises owned by Great Shelford Free Church and generously made available by them for this joint venture, at a peppercorn rent.

Romsey Mill has been providing youth development work and family support in the villages of Shelford, Stapleford and Sawston for several years, and revenues generated by Cara Coffee will be reinvested back into the local community through the work of Romsey Mill.

Speaking of the partnership with Great Shelford Free Church (GSFC), Neil Perry, Romsey Mill’s Chief Executive, said:

“The activities and service of Cara Coffee will reflect the ethos and values of Romsey Mill. These align positively with GSFC’s own vision and commitment to growing local community. Cara Coffee endeavours to be a socially and environmentally conscientious enterprise, providing great quality and affordable food and drinks, work-placements and training opportunities for young people, volunteering opportunities for people to give time and gain new skills.”

The word Cara means ‘friend’ in Gaelic and in Latin it carries several meanings including ‘valued’ or ‘beloved’.

People from the local community participate as volunteers in the running of Cara Coffee alongside paid staff members, Julie Whitbread (Manager) and Andrea Robson (Assistant Manager).

Julie said: “Our hope is that Cara Coffee will be a place of friendship, an expression of that which is valued and loved.”

Julie added: “We want Cara Coffee shop to be a place of welcome and gathering, a place of creativity and enterprise, a place where community grows. And a place that serves great coffee!”

This is already being realised in the lives of people who are coming into Cara Coffee. One of our volunteers met with two ladies, Margaret and Ruth, who met through Cara Coffee and have since become friends, to talk about their experience of the new venture.

Before Cara formally opened, both ladies passed by the shop en route to shops, appointments etc. and were watching progress eagerly. Margaret kept asking the gardener for news and couldn’t wait for opening day! She feels the flowers really ‘lift’ the place, and since it opened, she has brought ‘all sorts of people’ to Cara, and likes the variety of customers - young workers, retired doctors etc.

Ruth appreciates the fact that Cara Coffee has become a resting place for her as she goes about the village.

Here are a few quotes, that came up in conversation with Margaret and Ruth:

“They know your name.”

“Just lovely - everyone's so welcoming.”

“The best coffee anywhere. Everyone says that.”

“They always say ‘Hello’.”

“You don’t feel that you’re a stranger.”

Cara Coffee Shop is open Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 4pm, and on Saturdays from 9am to 12.30pm.

If you would like to volunteer at Cara Coffee, please contact our Admin team on: 01223 213162 or email:, or call in at Cara Coffee and speak with the team