Café supporting former homeless people reopens bigger and better

old orchard cafe

The Old Orchard Café has reopened and helps former homeless people by offering them a job on site. - Credit: Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney

A charity which helps to support former homeless people by offering them work and a place to live on a convent site has recently revamped and reopened its café. 

The Old Orchard Café in Ditchingham, reopened on October 30 as part of a revamp and employs former homeless people, providing them with new workplace and social skills.

It is run by Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney who fight against poverty and support those who are homeless by offering them work and a place to live.

The café is located on a convent site, where the former homeless people, known as companions, are also housed.

The companions work for 40 hours a week on site at various of the social enterprises and in return they are provided with rooms on site.


One of the cakes freshly baked by members of staff at the Old Orchard Cafe. - Credit: Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney

CEO of Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney Cecile Roberts said: "Our newly reopened café is just one of the many social enterprises we have here at our Ditchingham base.

"The café allows our companions to upskill in the hospitality industry, giving them vital work-based skills.

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"Since revamping up the café we have trained up all the members of staff and they freshly bake and make everything on site which is wonderful to see."

manager sue

Manager Sue runs the café alongside other members of staff. - Credit: Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney

The café sells freshly made cakes, paninis and stews with customers saying that the cheese scones are the best around.

Mrs Roberts said: "When we reopened we were inundated with customers, with queues out the door.

"Customers were so pleased to see us again and we would urge anyone who hasn't come down before to come and check us out."

old orchard cafe

A customer very happy with his cheese scone at the Old Orchard Cafe. - Credit: Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney

Mrs Roberts said that the café is not only beneficial for the companions but also for the customers using it as well.

She said: "The re-opening of the café is very beneficial for our companions because it gives them workplace skills which are useful.

"A lot of our companions come to us with anxiety issues so having a forward facing customer role really helps them.

"The mental satisfaction of baking and making fresh produce is also really great as well.

"Lastly, customers who visit us are not only helping us as a charity, they are also helping those who are homeless and tackling that stigma surrounding homelessness."


Some of the scones at the Old Dairy Café. - Credit: Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney