AN ARBROATH outreach cafe will celebrate their first birthday later this month.
Cafe Amor, 261 High Street, is the friendly face of the Blessings Outreach programme, a Christian community group run by Marco and Melanie Agolini.
The cafe acts as a base for a number of projects, and in the first instance provides an opportunity for people from difficult backgrounds to acquire employable skills through work experience in the kitchen and front of house.
Marco said: “We see ourselves as a social cafe. We have volunteers and we have one person who supervises through the week, my wife Melanie does three days, and I do three days.
“The volunteers are from a wide range of backgrounds, drug abuse and alcohol abuse, illiteracy, stuff like that. This provides a stepping stone to the possibility of employment and better self-esteem.
“Some of these guys are really getting to learn some basic life and kitchen skills. It’s hard work, but we like that.
“Because these guys are hardcore Arbroath we’re getting hardcore Arbroath customers and allowing us to connect with the community. If we can help we are happy to.”
On Tuesday, July 17, Cafe Amor will mark its first year in business by offering sit-down customers free hot beverages throughout the day.
Continuing the celebrations on the Thursday evening will be an open mic night from 7.30 p.m. which hopes to attract a diverse range of acts.
On Saturday, July 21, Marco hopes to return to the group’s Christian roots with an open mic night from 7.30 p.m. by worship leaders. Marco explained: “It’ll be like background music with people drinking coffee and playing board games. We thought we’d try it at least once and see how it went.
“Really we want to interact with the community in a positive way, so we are looking to do different things in the community.”
Cafe Amor offers a 20 per cent discount to people on benefits in an attempt to help break the cycle of depression that can sometimes occur. Marco said: “We just want to do something to include people, to let them come out when they are on the dole. We’re always looking for ways to benefit the community wherever possible.”