Community cafe seeking home in north Norfolk ‘child poverty blackspot’

Rachel Forsyth, left, and Lorna Berry, right, are looking for premises for a community cafe and zero

Rachel Forsyth, left, and Lorna Berry, right, are looking for premises for a community cafe and zero waste shop in Holt. Photo: Submitted by Rachel Forsyth - Credit: Submitted by Rachel Forsyth

The founders of a north Norfolk community cafe have said their drive to give back comes from their town's 'shocking' status as a 'child poverty blackspot'.

Business partners Rachel Forsyth and Lorna Berry joined forces to launch The Treehouse Cafe, in Holt, after their experiences running music groups opened their eyes to hidden deprivation.

"We could see the people coming through our doors needed more support than we could give in an hour," said Mrs Forsyth, chairman of Music for Families.

"Every single week there is somebody who needs to talk or needs someone to listen to them."

And the 35-year-old mother of four added: "[Holt] is a child poverty blackspot.

"It's one of those places where when you visit you don't notice it.

"It is really shocking. We want to get to people under the radar."

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Data published by End Child Poverty last year found that almost a third (27.4pc) of north Norfolk's children live in poverty.

The parliamentary constituency has the third highest rate in the county, beaten only by Norwich South and Great Yarmouth.

Mrs Forsyth, from Melton Constable, teamed up with music teacher Ms Berry, 48, from Reepham, and the pair decided to open a community cafe and zero waste shop in the town.

But they are still seeking a premises for the business on the far side of the Holt bypass, which they hope to open this year.

Mrs Forsyth added: "We're a community interest company so we can apply for grant funding and any profits will go to providing for the community.

"We want to have a place where people can sit and feel comfortable. [At our music groups,] we have quite a high rate of post natal depression and children with speech and language issues.

"You could see people being ready to talk but our time was up."

The cafe will offer a range of snacks and meals including breakfasts, and the founders hope to grow their own produce on site, as well as offering jobs and volunteering opportunities for vulnerable adults; life skills and make-do and mend workshops; clothes swaps; breast feeding support; and music groups.

"We'll offer a zero waste shop so people can refill, and cut down on plastic," added Mrs Forsyth.

Can you help The Treehouse Cafe find a home in Holt?