Hatfield café opens with pay-what-you-can concept

PUBLISHED: 13:00 04 August 2019

Sparks community cafe. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

Sparks community cafe. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

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A new café has opened in Hatfield where you can pay-what-you-can.

Dean Norris, day manager at Resolve. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlinDean Norris, day manager at Resolve. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin

Resolve's Sparks Community Café - dedicated to the late Welwyn Hatfield mayor Lynne Sparks - is getting busier every day.

But day manager Dean Norris, of the Resolve-run night shelter which is located at the back of the Queensway-site café, said the pay-what-you-can concept is a little difficult at first.

"People don't want to seem tight and they don't want to over-pay," Mr Norris explained.

"The café is really for the community and we have kids coming in during the school holidays and helping out."

Sparks community cafe is ready for customers. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.Sparks community cafe is ready for customers. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

The money patrons offer goes towards the running of the drugs and alcohol charity.

It pays for g like a bed, breakfast and a meal for one night (£10) or a meal for someone who cannot afford it (£5).

Mr Norris said: "Our chef is amazing. He makes everything fresh and you need to try the onion soup."

Chef Bradley Hill, 23, believes in cooking everything fresh with good quality ingredient, saying "going through and cooking with packets is child's play".

Spark's Community Cafe is open for business. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.Spark's Community Cafe is open for business. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

Mr Hill, who lives locally, was a little apprehensive about taking the job as the area "doesn't have the greatest reputation" but said he's liked it so far and really enjoys talking to the customers.

He said: "There's nothing around here like it. I'm always seeing new faces and the word is spreading."

He thinks the community can really support people in the area who are "struggling just to get something to eat".

"I eat out whenever I want and I think you take for granted if you can afford it."

Sparks community cafe. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.Sparks community cafe. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

READ MORE: Resolve night shelter officially opens in Hatfield

The shelter - officially opened on June 30 - has 10 people boarding and Mr Norris is hopeful they can support most to go in to homes.

He said: "Our volunteers are fantastic and give so much of their time."

"We'd love some more."

Bradley Hill cooks up a feast. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.Bradley Hill cooks up a feast. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

If you do visit the Welwyn Hatfield Times can recommend its sweet chilli halloumi wrap.

Resolve has also received support from Ocado, Hertfordshire county councillors, Mears, ARISE, Wellfield Trust, Recover and FReSch, the Wheat Quarter, Tesco, Austin's Funeral Directors, Hertfordshire Community Foundation and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to open and run the café and night shelter.

You may also want to watch:

Bradley Hill cooks up a feast. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.Bradley Hill cooks up a feast. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

Our reporter's lunch. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.Our reporter's lunch. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

Our reporter's lunch. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.Our reporter's lunch. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

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