New community café opens in Nelson to make a real difference to local people

published on 23 Feb 2015

A new café aimed at creating a hub for the community has thrown open its doors for the first time at The Salvation Army on Stanley Street in Nelson.

The 12:13 café has been designed to help the community in a number of ways by providing training and volunteers opportunities as well as a place for local people to receive support.  The cafe is located in a newly renovated area of the Church (corps) and will provide a warm and welcoming environment for any member of the community to visit every weekday between 10am and 4pm and on Saturdays 10am until 1pm.  Lt. Kay Blues, the corps commanding officer came up with the idea for the cafe not long after she arrived in Nelson last year. 

The leader of The Salvation Army in the Central North region, Major Alan Watters opened the cafe along with local MP Andrew Stephenson, while a crowd of local people looked on. Major Alan Watters, said:

"I was delighted to open Cafe 12:13 as I believe it offers an exciting opportunity for the people of Nelson. I'm confident that it'll become a hub for social friendship and endeavour and will soon be an intrinsic part of life for the people of Nelson. It will give us a means to further help the local community both through offering volunteer opportunities in the cafe and a point of contact for those in need. It was wonderful to see so many people from Nelson here today to support the opening."

The café will also provide a training opportunity for local jobseekers. The Salvation Army are working with the local CAP Job Club which have provided four volunteers to date, who are keen to gain work experience within the hospitality industry. The Salvation Army aims to work with other local agencies and colleges to extend this opportunity.

Lt Kay Blues, said: “I arrived in Nelson 18 months ago and I’ve taken some time understanding the needs of the people here. I feel our new café will greatly benefit the local community as it will be open to anyone and everyone. It will be a great way for us to connect with the wider community and help and support those most in need.”

“My vision for the café came from a Bible verse, Romans 12:13 hence the name of the café, ‘contribute to the needs of the saints, extend hospitality to strangers’, and we believe the new venture will allow us to achieve this.”

“Before I became a Salvation Army minister I worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years and I believe this experience will help us to deliver a service which will make a real difference to the people of Nelson.”

This year The Salvation Army is celebrating 150 years of transforming lives and it is still at the heart of every community today, supporting those in need.