The Olive Tree Cafe
Wednesday 26th March 2014
Yesterday I had a spot of lunch with a friend at the charmingly bijou Olive Tree cafe located inside Cheney Manor garden centre. It’s a pity that, for me as a non-driver, the place is a tad inaccessible as I like to support an independent. It would take me two buses to get there so obviously it’s just not practical. A pity.
I said I like to support an independent cafe and I do. But this is more than that. This cafe exists to give help and support to those either at risk of mental illness or recovering from it. And there, but for the grace of God, goes everyone of us. As it says on their website:
“A key objective of the cafe is to help and support people recovering from mental illness or at risk of suffering mental illness by providing them with positive, work-related opportunities in a Café open to the public in order to take them a step nearer to the world of work. We like to think that our presence, and pride in who we are and what we do will mean we are doing our part to reduce the stigma of mental illness.
We have been trading since March 2011. As we have become more well-known in the wider Swindon community the business, for that is what we are, has been steadily growing.
We aim to cover our trading costs by cafe sales and offset our therapeutic costs by donations and grants. Whilst we have a small core of paid professional staff who cook and supervise, the vast majority of effort is provided by our quite superb band of volunteers.”
So aside from the undoubted importance of having something nice to eat and drink you are performing an important service in doing so! And isn’t that nice?
And speaking of nice – both my friend and myself had the cauliflower cheese. Mine with chips which were good chips and my friend with salad. One tiny criticism would be that the ratio of sauce to cauliflower was a bit top heavy, but that said it was a very well flavourful sauce so overall it was scrummy!
Below are a few photographs taken on my phone which explains why some of them are not so great. The piece of all-white artwork I absolutely love. I really covet it. It’s only when you look at it closely that you realize the ‘petals’ of the flowers – in fact the whole thing – are made from plastic spoons and stirrers of all kinds. It’s really very good.
So the next time you are in the market for compost pop there. It’s a really nice garden centre actually. I believe back in the day it was council owned. Or even, and here’s a radical notion, just go anyway. The cafe has a really pleasant garden area with some fun and funky art pieces in it so sitting there with a coffee would be agreeable for sure.
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