Our Mission and Values

The Umbrella Cafe CIC is a not for profit social enterprise, incorporated in September 2018. We offer a welcoming social hub and kitchen and aim to reduce levels of social isolation, loneliness and food poverty in our community. We have five purposes and reasons for existing :

  1. Promoting an inclusive environment where anyone can feel welcome & safe.
  2. Working in collaboration to achieve our aims.
  3. Providing services that promote inclusion for our beneficiaries and the wider community.
  4. Creating working relationships with other community organisations in Whitstable and the wider area; with the ability to refer on where necessary.
  5. Providing services that actively provide skills, support & empower members of our community that are facing increased levels of food insecurity, loneliness and isolation.


Our guiding values are to ensure we stay :

  1. User led by communicating with service users and engaging in monthly steering groups with beneficiaries and stakeholders.
  2. Inclusive
  3. Engaged with volunteers.
  4. A collaborative model.
  5. Focused on responding to community needs and will adapt where necessary.

Our project Work and impact

How you can help
We receive funding from The National Lottery and Kent Community Foundation to help us deliver our projects. We also rely on pay it forward customer donations; this circular economy ensures others can eat a lower cost or free meal in our Cafe. Anyone who chooses a coffee, cake or meal in our Cafe is helping us to support our community! Local businesses can help by donating their surplus to the community fridge or our social pantry. We would also love to hear from local business owners who would be keen to sponsor us and the project work we do in the future.


Our food deliveries
We are currently operating a small free food delivery and befriending service to isolated and vulnerable households within Whitstable in collaboration with Food Friends’ charity. Please contact us if are a community organisation who would like to refer on a household to us so we can discuss the process with you.


Frozen Meals
No cost frozen single meals are on offer from the Cafe daily; these are cooked in our kitchen and come with a recipe card. Please ask in the foyer or contact us for more details. There is no fixed criteria but we would ask anyone that self refers or is referred to us to sign up to this service so we can ensure we have simple but key details and the ability to continue offering the service should there be any changes made to the lockdown measures. Our menu operates on a ‘pay what you can’ basis. We have no fixed prices on our menu, only a guide to help you decide. You are very welcome to pay less or zero; everyone is welcome in our space for food, drinks and company. If you can contribute more, your donation will help someone else eat without judgement, or go back into our community projects.


Pay What You Can menu in the Cafe Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays & Tuesdays 10-3
At the heart of the Cafe is our belief that everyone should have access to good food; we want our community to be able to eat delicious & nutritious meals together. Our menu, therefore, operates on a ‘pay what you can’ basis. Some can pay more, some can pay less, some can’t pay but everyone is welcome in our space for food, drinks & company.


The Social Pantry
With our partners who provide and redistribute surplus produce, we have created a social pantry shop, open two days a week Wednesdays and Thursdays 10-1pm. All produce is shared between the members and the emphasis is on making self-empowered choices, that include fresh products such as meat and dairy, vegetables and fruit, tinned goods, cereals, snacks and treats. Anyone experiencing food insecurity or problems accessing food is able to join as a member; we have no fixed criteria but do ask members to sign up with us. Each shop is £4; this cost will cover a variety of items up to the value of £20.


Cooking, budgeting and recipe support
Coming soon!


Our supported placements
Returning to the Cafe in the Autumn, we are looking forward to welcoming back our supported volunteers and students. We work in partnership with the Supported Learning Department at Canterbury College, St Nicolas’ School Sixth Form and Choices Support to offer confidence and skills based training to students with sensory conditions in our Cafe and Kitchen spaces.

Our volunteering opportunities

We couldn’t do what we do without our fantastic volunteers.

We have opportunities in our Cafe, social kitchen and project spaces for engaging volunteer opportunities.

Email us to find out more how you can help with the community fridge, batch cooking for our free meals, our social pantry project, supporting our students in the kitchen or helping us out in the Cafe by offering support from washing up, photography to baking!