£22,000 boost on menu for Hawick community cafe

Trustees' chairman Jenni Green with staff at the Almond Tree cafe in Hawick.
Trustees' chairman Jenni Green with staff at the Almond Tree cafe in Hawick.
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A community cafe set up in Hawick to help young people find jobs and training opportunities has been given a double cash windfall of £22,000.

The Almond Tree, opened in High Street in June 2014, offers work placements and life-coaching, with any profits made reinvested in youth work across the Borders.

Now the cafe, employing four members of staff, is one of five charities to benefit from a share of almost £38,000 being handed out by the Bank of Scotland Foundation.

The Almond Tree’s £9,000 grant comes hot on the heels of a £13,000-a-year funding boost given to the charity by the Robertson Trust.

Much of the funding is to be used to create a new quiet cafe kitchen area on the first floor of the building.

Jenni Green, chairwoman of the board of trustees running the Almond Tree, said the charity takes on 20 placements a year, leading them to a “positive destination”, into work or on to college.

She said: “Some of those on placements can’t cope with the hustle and bustle of the existing cafe, which does get very busy, so we are going to refurbish the first floor to create a quiet training kitchen area.

“Many of our placements come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are vulnerable, and this will be a place they can learn in peace and quiet. If they are under too much pressure, they are unable to do that.”

The charity is also expanding its services to elderly people in the local community.

Jenni added: “We take food to elderly people to meet an unseen need, so we are benefiting another group of people.

“Our ultimate aim is to provide food on a daily basis.

“Despite the pressures on many charities, we are in a very positive place. It feels like a new beginning.”

Philip Grant, chairman of the Bank of Scotland Foundation’s board of trustees, said: “Finding the funding to continue operating is a pressure charities regularly face, so we’re delighted to have been able to provide grants to five Borders charities.

“The work these charities do is invaluable, and the Bank of Scotland Foundation is proud to support them making a tangible difference to the local communities in which they operate.”

Another opportunity to bid for small and medium grants from the foundation is open until Friday, April 17.

For details, visit www.bankofscotlandfoundation.org