‘Heartwarming’ response to coffee shops’ giving tree for those in need

Lucy Newell (left) and Jessica Darnell (right) own The Coffee House on Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds

Lucy Newell (left) and Jessica Darnell (right) own The Coffee House on Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds, and the one at Fornham All Saints Picture: JESSICA DARNELL - Credit: JESSICA DARNELL

A cafe owner has said she is “overwhelmed” by people’s donations of coffees and cakes for those who are struggling.

The owners of the Coffee House want to spread the word about the giving tree, where anyone in need c

The owners of the Coffee House want to spread the word about the giving tree, where anyone in need can pick up a post-it note and get a free drink or food Picture: THE COFFEE HOUSE - Credit: THE COFFEE HOUSE

The Coffee House has a ‘giving tree’ at its branches on Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds, and the nearby village of Fornham All Saints.

Customers can make a pre-payment for food and drink for someone in need that is written on a post-it note and placed on the giving tree.

The note can then be taken and exchanged for that item, explained Jessica Darnell, co-owner of the Coffee House.

MORE: Take a look inside Newmarket’s newest caféShe said: “The generosity of the community has been overwhelming. People are coming in and don’t necessarily want to buy with us, but want to give to someone who needs it. It’s just been heartwarming.”

Jessica Darnell, co-owner of the Coffee House, said the response had been "heartwarming" Picture: T

Jessica Darnell, co-owner of the Coffee House, said the response had been "heartwarming" Picture: THE COFFEE HOUSE - Credit: THE COFFEE HOUSE

The Coffee House’s Facebook post says if you have recently been made redundant, lost a job or generally feeling rubbish and the treats are not quite coming as freely as they used to, “please come on down and have a coffee on all of us. I’ve been there”.

Mrs Darnell said they had had a couple of nurses come in and take post-its from the giving tree as they had had a rubbish day, and one returned at a later time to make a donation.

She added: “We want to put it out there that it’s for anyone. We have a no questions asked policy. Everybody at this moment in time is going through some hardship or another.”

MORE: ‘Pub desks’ with wifi and a baguette offered to people bored working from homeShe said it had gone from donations of coffees and cakes to sandwiches and sausage rolls.

Lucy Newell (rightt) and Jessica Darnell (left) Picture: JESSICA DARNELL

Lucy Newell (rightt) and Jessica Darnell (left) Picture: JESSICA DARNELL - Credit: JESSICA DARNELLt

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Some people are even donating cash, which the Coffee House uses to pre-purchase a selection of food and drink, to be collected using the post-it notes.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” she said. “We have had lots of people giving money.”

It came about after a friend told them about “another fabulous cafe with this genius idea”.

Mrs Darnell and business partner Lucy Newell have been running it for about two weeks, and are keen to spread the word to encourage those in need to use it.

MORE: New coffee machine for Cafe 66 in KesgraveShe said they had gradually reopened their branches after the lockdown, adding the giving tree initiative had been a real “boost” for their Moreton Hall cafe, which is smaller than the one at Fornham All Saints.

“Business has slowly started picking up there,” she said. “It’s been a tough road.”

The community-focused Coffee House is a regular supporter of local charity, St Nicholas Hospice Care, and will be fundraising for them again to celebrate 10 years at Moreton Hall in November.