Liberty Tea Rooms and community hub in Hemel Hempstead reopen to the public

Community run, community supported and community focussed, Liberty Tea Rooms is a café with a difference

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 3:07 pm

A community hub in Hemel Hempstead has reopened to the public after months of closure during the coronavirus pandemic.

Liberty Tea rooms, in Bank Court, reopened its doors to the community on Tuesday, August 3, for the first time since March 2020.

Liberty Tea Rooms is run and staffed by volunteers from the local community and offers free services for those in need via a Community Hub, the ethos is that everyone is welcome and everyone is valued.

On their first day of reopening, the charity had a surprise visit of encouragement by local Celebrity Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli

CEO and founder of the charity, Kerry-Anne Cooper, said: "We are primarily staffed by community volunteers, many of whom are vulnerable adults.

"So many of our team just didn’t feel safe enough to return until all restrictions had been lifted.

"It’s been a very long wait, but we are so happy to be open to the community, once again.”

Fresh Food and drink is available at a minimum suggested donation, so that even those on a low income can feel included. All cash donations are put into a little brown envelope to ensure dignity is intact. This is then placed into the Honesty Box.

Recently the charity has been able to claim gift aid for all donations made.

Sharon Boyall, operations manager, said: "This is great news for us as a small charity and will make a tremendous difference to our sustainability."

On their first day of reopening, the charity had a surprise visit of encouragement by Hertfordshire Celebrity Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, who has been following the work of the charity since it’s launch in the town centre in June 2017.

He met with the team giving praise for their volunteering and encouraged everyone for their work in the community. He said: "What you guys do here is incredible. It’s such a fantastic place."

Even though the doors of the Tea Rooms were closed during lockdown, the work of the charity's Community Hub has continued to help local families.

The free Debt Counselling service - Christians Against Poverty (CAP) - was able to offer ongoing support and advice throughout lockdown, as well as providing online courses in Money Management. During this time, 14 families have found liberty from debt.

One local lady who has been helped by CAP said: "I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you guys.

"Your support got me through this, during the most difficult time of my life and when everywhere seemed to be shut. I can actually sleep at night again. I’ve got my life back. Thank you!”

If you need help with debts call the free number to book an appointment 0800 328 0006.

Not everyone has the ability to volunteer on site, so the role of community bakers is another great way for people to be involved.

These volunteers provide handcrafted cakes and bakes for the charity. Every day there is a tasty selection of goodies on offer for visitors.