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Cambridgeshire Mencap

What we do

Volunteering at Fair Shares Cafe

Volunteering at Fair Shares Cafe

Fair Shares is a community café run by volunteers including people with learning disabilities. It serves delicious home cooked food in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Volunteers who help to run the café benefit in a number of different ways:

  • Learning new skills by working in different roles at the café
  • Developing social skills by working as a team and interacting with the public
  • Building their confidence, independence and self-esteem

How to find the Fair Shares Café

The Fair Shares Café is at Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Trumpington Street, Cambridge. We are open Tuesday – Friday, 10.30am to 3pm.

How you can find out more

If you are interested in joining the Fair Shares Café team, drop in and see us or contact us at  cafe@eddies.org.uk or call us on 01223 351174 or 01223 883130.

You can also follow the Fair Shares Café on Twitter - https://twitter.com/FairSharesCafe

The Fair Shares Café is run as a partnership between Eddie's and Emmanuel United Reformed Church.


Announcement: Closure of the Fair Shares cafe - 25/09/18

Downing Place URC have announced that the Fair Shares Cafe will close at the end of July 2019. Eddie’s will be working with the Eddie's volunteers to identify new projects and opportunities.

Please see below a statement from Downing Place URC:

Downing Place URC and Eddie’s recognise that the decision taken in August to close the Fair Shares Café is one that will affect the lives of many people, not least those volunteers with learning difficulties and other complex needs who work there. For 18 very successful years the Fair Shares Café has been a place where all of our volunteers have felt valued, safe respected and have been given the opportunity to learn new skills and improve their quality of life.

We have a duty of care to ensure we manage the decision to close the Cafe with thoughtfulness and empathy, placing supported volunteers’ needs at the centre of any future decisions. That is why we have given 12 months notice of the closure to enable Eddie’s to ensure, as far as possible, there is a smooth transition into new placements.

There are three main reasons why it was felt necessary to close the Café:

1.     Over the last few years the finances of the Café have become increasingly difficult with a growing annual financial deficit rising to levels that Emmanuel URC was finding ever more difficult to subsidise.

2.     In June of this year Emmanuel URC and St Columba’s URC came together to form one new, united church, known as Downing Place URC. The church building on Trumpington Street, where Emmanuel URC was based and where the Café operates from, has been sold to Pembroke College with some of the proceeds from the sale being invested in redeveloping the St Columba’s site on Downing Place. The united church will meet there from September 2020.

3.     The opportunity afforded by the union between Emmanuel and St Columba’s churches has prompted a re-think in the mission of the new church.  The church remains committed to supporting those who are socially excluded, and to doing this in partnership with Eddie’s, but wants to do this in such a way that reaches beyond those with a learning difficulty to include seriously mentally ill people, and people with dementia and their carers.   

Setting the closure date as the end of July 2019 will galvanize the existing staff team to work towards a well-planned and appropriate end for the Café – celebrating what by then will be almost 19 years of serving the community. It will allow Downing Place URC and Eddie’s to properly plan for a new set of projects to support the socially excluded from the Downing Place site from September 2020.  It will also provide some semblance of security and support to those volunteers and other members of staff who require it.



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