A COMMUNITY café launched to tackle social isolation celebrated its second birthday this month.

The service is run by volunteers at Park Christian Fellowship (PCF) in Radnor Park.

Reflecting on the past two years Pastor Craig Halkett told the Post it is “massively important” for the café to continue its outreach work.

Clydebank Post: [Left to right] Women's outreach worker Jane Abisoye Pastor Craig Halkett [Left to right] Women's outreach worker Jane Abisoye Pastor Craig Halkett (Image: Newsquest staff)

The 50-year-old said: “Initially we started running a food bank during lockdown as there were a lot of people struggling.

“As restrictions began to lift we became more and more aware of people suffering from social isolation and we thought ‘Why don’t we open up a café?’ as it would mean people would have a place to get a bite to eat, socialise, and maybe meet new friends.

“At first numbers were quite low with just a few people attending the food bank. After the café started up we didn’t see a great increase, to begin with, but slowly it’s started to build up.

“What we are really trying to do is get people the help and support they need, whatever that may be.”

Clydebank Post: Iain and Suzanne enjoying a game of pool Iain and Suzanne enjoying a game of pool (Image: Newsquest staff)

As well as its Community Café PCF runs a host of support sessions at its hub in Shelley Drive every week.

What activities are on and when?

  • Monday from 11am to 1pm – Recovery group to support those dealing with addiction whether that is drugs, alcohol, gambling etc. Attendees are offered both breakfast and lunch.
  • Wednesday from 9am to 5pm – Pastor Halkett and long-term volunteer Jane Abisoye hold one-to-one appointments offering a variety of support including practical help (setting up online accounts to pay bills).
  • Friday from 12pm to 2pm – Community Café
  • Sunday – Church

Clydebank Post: Craig and Gordon Craig and Gordon (Image: Newsquest staff)

Monday’s recovery group is run in partnership with Street Connect – a Glasgow-based organisation that supports individuals struggling with addiction and associated issues.

Pastor Halkett explained that over the years the Clydebank group has seen a number of people transform their lives.

Clydebank Post: PCF's community cafe celebrated its second birthday this month PCF's community cafe celebrated its second birthday this month (Image: Newsquest staff)

He added: “There have been some people who have come in here and were in a very bad place.

“What we try to do in a very gentle way is try and get alongside them and see if we can help.

"Some people are happy to take that help and others are maybe not quite ready yet which is fine we don’t force anything on anybody.

“One or two people now no longer need the food bank but still come along for the social aspect.

"Something we feel has been a real success recently is that we saw someone who had come in here in a bad place and needed the foodbank transform their life and now because they’re making different choices they can contribute donations to the food bank.

“It’s massively important that we keep doing this as a lot of people are really struggling and I don’t think it’s going to get better so we need to keep this place running.

“We want to create a safe space for people to come in and feel relaxed even if it's just a couple of hours where they can take their minds off their challenges.

“Everyone is welcome.”