All smiles again at seaside well-being cafe as council licence clash is resolved
PUBLISHED: 14:38 16 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:38 16 January 2018
supplied by Simon Risi
Contentment and happiness are once again flowing at a lottery-funded well-being cafe after a council clash was resolved.
Simon Risi, wanted to bring people together over free coffee, optional activities, and walks to reduce isolation and get people moving.
But his project suffered a setback when borough council officials said he needed permission to set up on his chosen spot behind Great Yarmouth’s historic Waterways.
Now, however he said the issue had been resolved and he was back in business offering a full version of the venture he was handed £10,000 to deliver.
For the next five weeks he will be operating from Newtown Community Centre, with free refreshments for those who take part, walks and activities.
After that he will return to his original spot on the beach behind the gardens.
Mr Risi, 45, said it had been a long slog but he was happy everything was going ahead as planned, pointing out he had done his homework and spoken to the council before he went ahead.
MORE: Fancy a free coffee? New well-being cafe on Yarmouth beach aims to get people talking
The final ten weeks of the 30 week project would hopefully see more people taking part, especially those who had faced their fair share of problems and could do with a boost, he said.
So far the weekly sessions which run on Tuesdays, 2-4pm, had seen numbers of people ranging from just six to 45, he said.
But he was confident the project was “reaching the right people” from all walks of life.
“The type of people that were engaging with us was the most important thing,” he said.
“We have had some people with long term health issues and people who have faced more than their fair share of adversity.
“We certainly got in touch with the right people.”
MORE: Row brewing over well-being cafe’s bid to serve free coffee on Yarmouth seafront
He said it had been frustrating, not being able to offer the full service while the licence issue was being sorted and he hailed the support of councillor Andy Grant.
In September the council said it had “politely” asked Mr Risi to stop what he was doing until the issue was looked into, adding that vehicle movements and the impact on other businesses needed to be considered.
Once the project is finished Mr Risi is planning to branch out with a project on the Heatsease estate in Norwich.