Customers of popular village cafe near Banbury launch fundraiser to help with energy costs
Locals and regulars Debbie Turner and Kerri McNally started the fundraiser for Henry's after the recent cost of living crisis hit the cafe hard, leaving it struggling to break even despite being extremely busy.
The cafe, which was taken over by current owner Sarah Heath in June last year, has become an important meeting place for many of the older villagers after the covid lockdowns and is seen by many locals as more of a community hub than a business.
Sarah said: "We have a lot of elderly visitors to the cafe, and after covid Henry’s became a bit of a lifeline for them, so it’s become really important to keep the cafe going.
"I don’t know how people will manage, my utility bill has gone up by around 300%, and we can’t possibly forward those costs on. It’s been really tough, and at the moment I just want to keep going to try and break even. If I can get through the next four months, hopefully in the spring bills won’t cost as much.
"I didn’t realise how vital to the village the cafe is until this fundraiser and that it is a lifeline to so many in the area. It has made me quite overwhelmed and emotional to see all the support. We have had some really nice feedback, and people have been very generous."
The cafe, which was originally called Butler’s Pantry, was renamed Henry's Cafe in honour of Sarah's grandfather, a World War II Army veteran whose legacy she hopes to carry on through the cafe.
Debbie Turner, who started the fundraiser, said: "If Henry’s were to close it would be a sad day for the residents of Middleton Cheney, as well as Sarah and her family and staff, but with your help we can try to prevent that happening. I know how tough things are for everyone but every little helps."
To donate to the Henry’s Cafe fundraiser, visit the GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/henrys-cafe-middleton-cheney?.