An exciting new community space has opened in the Riverside Shopping Centre in Haverfordwest. Based in the former Wimpy building, @No5 Riverside offers a community café, ‘Library of Things’ and employment support – all in one town centre location. It follows a 6-month renovation project by Norman Industries as part of its supported employment programme, with funding from Welsh Government. “The café will be a fantastic resource offering dedicated sessions to a wide range of community groups, including people with dementia or a learning disability, carers, and gentlemen’s groups,” said Cllr Tessa Hodgson, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services. Known as ‘Caffi Cyfle’ (cyfle is the Welsh word for ‘opportunity’) the café is open 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. It is fully inclusive – please ask how to book a quiet time or about suitable food options.
Karen Davies, Programme Manager, said the café menu has been designed by Pembrokeshire’s neuro diverse community. “The simple hot menu is designed to provide meals suitable for people of all ages removing the food that is often left on the side of the plate,” she said. “The small plate option recognises that people with small appetites want to be able to buy an appropriately sized meal saving money and food waste.”
The café will also offer training and employment to people with barriers to employment including people with neurodiversity conditions. “We know that the hospitality sector has challenges recruiting staff and yet there is a large pool of people who could work in this industry given the right training and support,” said Karen. “People with impairment and difference make excellent employees with low levels of absence and high levels of commitment. We already run a café in Milford Haven run by people with learning disability. We want to show the sector how this can be achieved in a busy town centre café environment.”
The Library of Things offers people the opportunity to borrow items that they can’t afford or don’t want to buy. People can borrow a wide range of things such as a gazebo, lawnmower, pressure washer, wheelbarrow, children’s games or fancy dress.
“Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “We all have items that we have bought for one job, which have then sat in our cupboards gather dust never to be used again. “Now we have the opportunity to reduce the use of precious resources by borrowing the item rather than buying it for a fraction of the cost. “The Library of Things is a fantastic opportunity for people in Pembrokeshire to contribute towards actions for the environment.”
The unit at No.5 Riverside stood empty for a number of years and took a significant investment to bring it back to life. Financial support was provided by a Circular Economy grant to support town centre regeneration from the Welsh Government.
Riverside Shopping Centre Manager Nigel Stroper said he was delighted to welcome @No5 to the Riverside Shopping Centre.
“I have been so impressed with the efforts of all concerned with this enterprise which brings real points of difference to both the shopping centre and town centre, the staff are so enthusiastic – they are a credit to the work done by Norman Industries,” he said.
“I am confident this is a great step forward in the regeneration work beginning in our lovely little town.”
Local County Councillor Tom Tudor said it was a great initiative. “This is an excellent facility and very much welcomed for the centre of town,” he said. ”We wish it every success.”
Also based @No5 are the staff from Employability Pembrokeshire. During the day, the upstairs space will be used as a drop in space so that people can meet with the mentors from a wide range of employment projects that support progress into work. The team at Employability Pembrokeshire can help with training, work experience and getting paid work. For people with a disability they can also help to assess and put in place support to ensure people have success in the work place.