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Life-changing coffee shop opens in Woolwich – with help from Lovell

A brand-new café on a mission to provide great coffee and change lives has opened in Woolwich – with help from housing developer Lovell.

The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Councillor Olugbenga Babatola, officially launched the new Coffee Ethic café in Anglesea Road at a celebratory brunch. The social enterprise – set up by substance misuse charity Druglink – serves high-quality organic and Fairtrade coffee while also creating opportunities for vulnerable people to gain valuable work experience, volunteering opportunities, training and qualifications.

The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Councillor Olugbenga Babatola, officially launching the new Coffee Ethic café in Anglesea Road, Woolwich. Left to right, Lovell project manager Nigel Hardy; The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Councillor Olugbenga Babatola and Sarah Clark, Druglink’s director of finance and commercial operations.

Coffee Ethic transformed a run-down shop into the smart new coffee house with the help of a team from housing developer Lovell who installed a brand-new kitchen for free by carrying out demolition work, fitting the kitchen and supplying and installing new flooring.

Sarah Clark, Druglink’s director of finance and commercial operations, says: “Coffee Ethic and its charity Druglink are excited to see the opening of the café as part of a wider resource centre for the local community in Woolwich and we thank Lovell for their support and generosity towards this project. The café is an integral part of our prevention, recovery and reintegration pathway and we hope the environment created with the donation from Lovell encourages both potential volunteers and local people to visit and embrace the ethos of the café.”

The company helped out as part of its commitment to supporting community projects and organisations in the areas where it works.  Lovell recently began construction at a development site close to the coffee shop where it is creating the first of 1,500 new homes to be provided through a major regeneration programme in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and asra Housing Group.

“Initiatives of this kind can make a huge difference in communities and to people’s lives, so we were delighted to help by installing the café’s new kitchen,” says Lovell regional director Michael O’Farrell. “It’s fantastic to see the café open and we wish it every success. Supporting local organisations and groups in Woolwich wherever we can through our Lovell Legacy commitment is central to the major regeneration programme we are working on locally.  In addition to the new homes we are building,  we’re focused on delivering lasting gains for the whole neighbourhood, whether that’s through community  initiatives such as this or by providing new jobs and training opportunities.”

Deputy leader and cabinet member for Regeneration and Sustainability at the Royal Borough of Greenwich Councillor Danny Thorpe comments: “Woolwich is undergoing huge changes not just with the creation of new public spaces and housing such as the development on the site of the old Connaught estate, but also new businesses opening up here, giving us all new food and coffee options! Coffee Ethic clearly stick by their name, and we welcome them to the heart of Woolwich.”

Lovell plans to train up to 90 apprenticeships through the Woolwich scheme, with the first set to start on site this summer. The company has also established a £150,000 Community Trust fund to help fund community groups and projects through its Lovell Legacy commitment.

Lovell began work last month on the new Trinity Walk development – formerly the Connaught estate – which will create 684 new homes. They are the first to take shape through a 1,500-home regeneration programme which will see 1,064 homes on the Connaught, Morris Walk and Maryon Road / Grove estates demolished and replaced.