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Much-loved community cafe in Inverness re-opens

By Val Sweeney

Staff and councillors celebrate the re-opening of the cafe at Hilton Community Centre.
Staff and councillors celebrate the re-opening of the cafe at Hilton Community Centre.

A POPULAR community cafe in an Inverness neighbourhood has re-opened its doors.

The cafe in Hilton Community Centre is welcoming customers once again after being added to High Life Highland's (HLH) catering service under broader expansion plans.

The much-loved venue with its soft play area opened about six years ago in a joint venture involving Cobbs, the community centre and children’s hospital charity the Archie Foundation.

Just over a year ago, the Archie Foundation announced it was withdrawing as the cafe was no longer sustainable and Cobbs stepped in to keep the venture going, with the hope that another charity would step in to the breach..

But last autumn HLH announced it was to close and replaced with vending machines.

HLH chairman Ian Ross said he was pleased to see the important community service re-opened to the public.

"It is great to see the place busy and in full operation, with so many customers clearly pleased to have the facility available to them again," he said.

"I am also pleased that the previous staff have transferred to HLH and therefore customers will continue to see well-known faces serving their coffee and cakes.

"The staff have been extremely positive about the transfer to HLH and I would personally thank them for their support and assistance over the last week in getting the cafe re-opened slightly earlier than we’d planned.”

Inverness Ness-side ward councillor Ron MacWilliam was "absolutely delighted" the cafe now had a certain future and the hard-working staff have been transferred over to work for HLH

"The Hilton Community Centre is a life-line for many people, not just in terms of the community groups and services on offer but also as a social hub for every age group," he said.

"The decision to take over the cafe shows that High Life Highland are listening to the people they serve and I commend them for showing such strong commitment to the Hilton community. “

The HLH Cafe at Hilton team, led by Sharon Cameron, will welcome customers every weekday between 10am and 4pm.

“I am delighted that the cafe is back open again as it is an integral part of the Hilton community," she said.

"I am looking forward to welcoming all our customers but particularly some who are in their 80s and really enjoy having the cafe as an opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee and a chat.”

Angus Dick, voluntary chairman of the community centre's management committee, said: “I am really pleased that working in partnership with HLH we have managed to secure the future of the community centre’s cafe as well as ensuring the job security of the staff who have worked in the centre for many, many years.

"The cafe is really important to the Hilton community, so I look forward to personally visiting the cafe and making use of services that are available again.”

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