The Umbrella Café’s Thank You Thank You Party – We couldn’t have done it without you.

So we’re open, running an actual café and filling peoples’ cups with coffee. We are Caroline, Rachel and Jo and we all jumped at the chance to run the café at the Umbrella Community Centre in Whitstable when it was put up for tender in July.

However, none of us are business moguls or secret millionaires so we really could not have opened it without the help and support of some lovely and very kind local people.

When we first got the keys, we desperately wanted to change the lights, and we found a lovely local electrician Tom Brennen, who expertly fitted (for free!) all the beautiful pendants supplied from Flory and Black. James Marsh from F&B is also transforming an old vintage pull down lamp light for us, he’s an actual lighting genius. The wonderful Neccessary Furniture in Herne Bay was housing all our chairs that have had so many complements. They really are worth a visit if you’re after a gem or two for your house. Some needed a bit of improvement so step forward local Art and Design lecturer Izzy Fisher, who transformed them with new designer guild fabric and Becca Lucus who reupholstered them for free. Izzy also chucked in some gorgeous cushions for good measure!

Sam Bailey, a local illustrator, was just ‘relaxing’ on maternity leave when she pulled together our really amazing and apt logo; some of her artwork is on display at the cafe at the moment so our customers can take away their own lovely linographs if they want.

We couldn’t be a decent coffee shop without a proper bar to serve coffee and cakes from; Caroline’s dad Phil sourced our wood from good old scaffolding planks, and put it together in his spare time with Rachel’s partner Elliot. The coffee mugs themselves were very kindly donated by everyone’s favourite local potter, Keith Brymer-Jones, who is currently on the Beeb judging other people’s pottery efforts. Our beauties can be spotted in John Lewis if you want your own!

It’s been a fun process but a lot of hard work that started long before we opened, so  we also really could not have done it without support from people like Tatton Spiller from Whitstable Jaws, Tara Rees-Lawrence, Rachel Hudson from Fussy Foods, Bonnie Grainger, Martin Mc Loughlin from Wonderful Whitstable, Sue and John from Temple Foods, Lydia Homer, Ayo Adebiyi, Jack Cordés and of course our very own dearest and nearest family and friends!

It’s been a team effort and we’re pretty darned chuffed to be the ones lucky enough to be at the helm. Thank you again lovely people of Whitstable for all your help, now let’s keep those coffee beans grinding!