Victoria Park in Portsmouth was buzzing last Tuesday as we launched a Pay It Forward initiative at our Social Enterprise Café in the Park. The launch was a huge success and we owe a big THANK YOU to our Southern Co-op partners whose head office selected the Society of St James as their 2019 charity partner.
Initiated by staff at the Café, some of whom have experienced life on the streets, Pay It Forward is a way for the public to show they care by buying a voucher for someone less fortunate. In exchange for a £2 donation, those who are disadvantaged can get a hot drink or seasonal snack at the Café. We then ensure that the vouchers are given to someone facing multiple disadvantages such as homelessness, poverty and/or substance misuse and will offer signposting to support if appropriate.
On hearing of our planned initiative, Southern Co-op @TheSouthernCoop lent the full weight of its marketing and communications expertise to ensure success culminating in a ribbon cutting event on 2nd July lead by Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Enzo Riglia @HantsPCC. We were delighted that Cllr Sanders, Cllr Stagg & the Deputy Lord Mayor also attended the event @portsmouthtoday.
We are very grateful to the local media who got behind the project with @portsmouthnews, @BBCSouthNews, @BBCRadioSolent, @HeartSouthNews, @wave105radio and @ExpressFM all helping to shout about the event. To date the Café has already sold over 200 Pay It Forwards and we now have regular visitors to the Café who are rough sleeping eager to exchange their voucher.
Read some of the lovely stories captured by our local media here:
If you haven’t already, please consider visiting our Café in the Park whether to Pay It Forward or simply to enjoy the locally roasted barista coffee and freshly prepared food in the beautiful surroundings of Victoria Park, Portsmouth.
Cafe in the Park, Anglesea Rd, Portsmouth PO1 3HJ https://ssj.org.uk/social_enterprise/cafe-in-the-park/