'A milestone': Highgate wellness café opens at St Michael's Church

Cafe regulars eating lunch

Café regulars, carers and supporters were invited to the launch - Credit: Sally Patterson

A Highgate church has opened a new café to bring the community together and tackle isolation in a “fun and caring environment".

St Michael's Highgate officially launched the Wellness Café on Tuesday (September 7), in partnership with Highgate Newtown Community Centre (HNCC). 

The launch event, held in the South Grove church, included musical performances by regulars at the club, speeches and lunch in the new café. 

HNCC older people services lead, Larraine Revah, said the number of attendees coming to the café had already soared since it began a few weeks ago.

Larraine Revah

Larraine Revah runs the Wellness café at St Michael's. - Credit: Sally Patterson

Lorraine told the Ham&High: “After lockdown, a lot of people were lonely and isolated and we wanted to find a way of bringing them together, which was desperate.  

“The key thing was socialisation and bringing people together, and as you can see from today it has worked. 

“It has been amazing, because finally the partnership between us and the church has come together, and it makes me very happy.” 

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St Michael’s vicar, Rev Kunle Ayodeji, said the Wellness Café was a way reaching out to the community, and bringing new people into the church. 

Ukelele players

Ukelele players treated the audience to musical numbers including Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters - Credit: Sally Patterson

Cllr Callaghan

Cllr Callaghan commended the work of St Michael's and Highgate Newtown Community Centre on their shared ventue - Credit: Sally Patterson

“I never thought we would be this far along so quickly”, Rev Ayodeji said. I hope more people will come along and enjoy the hospitality of St Michael’s.” 

HNCC patron, His Honour Jeremy Connor, called the event a “milestone”, and thanked all those who had helped bring it together." 

Representing Camden Council were deputy leader and cabinet member for a healthy and caring Camden, Cllr Patricia Callaghan, and Jess McGregor, director of adult social care. 

cutting ribbon St Michaels

Organisers cut the ribbon at the Wellness Café opening, including Cllr Patricia Callaghan, Rev Kunle Ayodeji, Larraine Revah and Jeremy Connor - Credit: Sally Patterson

Cllr Callaghan added: “It’s been a real pleasure today to come along to help launch this partnership, because it’s a model of what should happen in areas of deprivation, and there are some in Highgate. 

“It’s looked on as a wealthy area, but you do have people with need also, and it’s something we value very highly in Camden.”

The café is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10am and 3.30pm, and offers free activities including crafts, games and singing. 

buffet lunch

Guests and speakers enjoyed a buffet lunch together - Credit: Sally Patterson