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John Vincent


Burngreave Ashram and the New Roots cafe in 2007

Colour photograph of the Staff and volunteers at the New Roots Café, Spital Hill.
Staff and volunteers in the New Roots café, 2006. © Nikky Wilson

Grace (my wife) and I came to Burngreave in 1970. As members of a radical Christian association, the Ashram Community, we set up a community house on Andover Street (now in Rock Street). In 2000 we bought the near derelict premises all round Keith Laycock's jewellers shop on Spital Hill and turned them into community rooms, offices and apartments. Here we opened a New Roots shop and sold vegan, vegetarian and wholefood goods to local enthusiasts, but found we also had room to create a community café. So every day, from mid morning to afternoon, a team of volunteers serves visitors with locally made soups, a wide range of exotic pasties, homemade cakes and hot drinks (you can have a large piece of cake plus tea or coffee for 75 pence!).

I never go in for lunch without meeting someone from the community. I feel it's an important part of sharing. It's a place where a lot goes on. Community events get hatched, local groups meet to talk, new volunteers get introduced, young families in the neighbourhood get a break, people in all kinds of need find friends and often help. It's a microcosm of what human life should be everywhere!

Written by Reverend John Vincent, minister of the Burngreave Methodist Church, November 2006.