We work in partnership with The Umbrella Community Centre, and share their beautiful community garden, with lots of space to sit in.
We run not-for-profit and commit to giving back to the community via our community interest status.
We all have a love for community engagement, all things inclusive and of course food.
We hope you enjoy the cafe as much as we do.
I was born in Whitstable and am so pleased to be back here, after a stint living in Cambridge, helping to run the community cafe. I have done many different jobs in the past, including being the first Wren at sea! The Navy couldn’t keep me, but I feel really comfortable being at the helm of such a vibrant and friendly community café.
A recent major life re-evaluation threw me into the Umbrella Café in 2016, after over 30 years of working in London and provincial hotel management. I am passionate about creative cooking and experimenting with food, and running the café has become an important part of my life, alongside my small but perfectly formed family.
In a past life I was an adult nurse. The project management skills I learnt during my time on a busy ward are now used to CEO an organisation full of wonderful staff & volunteers. Everyday is different and I love the variety. It could be budgets one day and looking at marketing plans the next, collaborating on grant bids and with community partners in between. Sustainable community engagement is the result of hard work to keep different elements stitched together. We love being a small but important part of that in Whitstable.
The newest member of the Director team I am focused on our project work and community engagement with a side line in important cake decisions too! I moved here with my family in 2012 and love being part of such an uplifting and welcoming community here in Whitstable. Previously working as a midwife and then with a number of small charities I have always been motivated to work in roles that support and empower for others. I joined the team after working closely on food projects during lockdown and love being a part of this woman-driven, dynamic and caring place.
Non Executive Directors
‘Our voluntary board’
First up is the very lovely and brilliant marketing mind that is Sally Falvey. Sally has recently moved back to Kent with her family after a period in London, and after settling in Whitstable quickly fell in love with the Umbrella Centre and cafe. She has 15 years of experience in the tech & charity sectors flexing her marketing expertise. We are chuffed that she will be lending a little of her time to assist us.
Lois Holland Leonard
Lois we have known since we opened in 2015, as a local mum of young kids she has always been aware of the cafe’s inclusivity.
Lois’s career has spanned media, marketing, PR, advertising and events but the common thread throughout the years has been her entrepreneurial spirit and love of business. In her own words, "I am the sort of person who can be at a party and spend the night brainstorming with someone their latest business idea - and having the best time of my life!
Lois and her husband set up their events business 8 years ago that now turns over a million pound plus and presents one of the biggest events globally in their sector as their flagship brand. She has mentored startups and entrepreneurs as they set up businesses; guiding them in both product development, and the mechanics of running and developing a young business, whilst mastering that magical cashflow. She is also happy to talk about her experience of making mistakes, facing bad times and staying optimistic. We are really lucky to have Lois on board, as she has a knack of seeing where the customers are, what they want, and mirroring this up to what businesses like ours can offer. As a social enterprise, we always need to balance our social & charitable aims with a good revenue income to ensure we can stay viable and open to all as a community business.