Coast Cafe Bistro decides to open up on Christmas Day to “say thank you to the community”
3 years ago
They have a fitting slogan: “The heart of the village … because we care.”
Because first thing on Christmas morning, when most of us will still be unwrapping presents or treating ourselves to a second glass of breakfast bucks fizz, Ian Jepson will be spreading Christmas cheer to others by opening the doors of his Liverpool cafe.
It’s a tradition he started when he first took over Coast Café and Bistro in Woolton more than three years ago, and Ian says: “2020 has been a difficult year for everyone so now, more than ever, it seems important to help out if you possibly can.”
Ian and his staff are welcoming visitors to the popular Allerton Road venue for free teas, coffees, sandwiches and mince pies from 9.30am to 12noon: “We’re open to anyone fancies calling in,” he says, “whether people are regular visitors, on their own or at a loose end, they can just pop in and say hello.”
The Christmas Day opening began because Coast has a lot of older customers, says Ian, and regulars who are on their own.
“We see the same faces in each week, and we get to know them and they get to know the staff,” explains Ian. “We didn’t want it to be exclusively to help people out, but for those people who just fancied doing something different too.
“We have had a few people each year, some ambulance groups that have called in to pick up a butty and a mince pie, or others who happen to be working who don’t normally come, and it’s nice.
“Over the years we’ve had people who say Christmas isn’t for them and who want to do something different; and we have had older people who don’t normally come in who are on their own.”
He smiles: “The first person who came through the door last year burst into tears and said how happy she was at being able to see other people on Christmas Day! It’s one of those days which can feel more isolating than ever if you don’t have anyone.
“We do it because we just enjoy helping other people out. We get well looked after throughout the year by our customers and it’s nice to be able to offer something back. The main thing is to say thank you to the community – we are lucky to have the customers we do – and being able to help others is a bonus.
“And there’s such a good atmosphere, it gets our day off to a great start too, and it feels good to be involved.”
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Any donations on the day will be given to The Trussell Trust, the charity which has a network of foodbanks and provides emergency food and support to people in crisis.