Halifax cafe at the centre of its community finally opens its doors to customers

A cafe in Ovenden has finally opened to customers after more than two years helping those in need in the community.

By Tom Scargill
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 2:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2022, 2:12 pm
Paul Holdsworth at The Hub Cafe
Paul Holdsworth at The Hub Cafe

Paul Holdsworth and his partner Alison took over the cafe from previous incumbent Trios in November 2019 to supply food for the on site social services and to create a hub for the community.

But The Hub experienced several early obstacles, including being forced to close due to repair works on site, then heavy snow forced them to close again before the Threeways Centre was closed entirely by Calderdale Council. Then the Covid pandemic started.

"We just couldn't sit and wait for us to re-open so we turned the cafe into a food bank for Calderdale," said Paul.

Paul Holdsworth at The Hub Cafe

"We registered with the government and Calderdale Council. The food bank already existed and was run by the New Beginnings Church next door. This was run by staff who had to immediately isolate so we asked if we could continue to run it as the need grew fast in the area and had to be filled.

"We had no stock and no contacts to get it up and running so we contacted every supplier in the area to help us get up and running. We found a great help from our local Morrisons in the form of Julie Bambridge who supplied us was a massive amount of food every week to help keep us going.

"At its peak we supplied 200 parcels a week all over Calderdale. We also did the coordination of the volunteers that registered to the government to help with food runs, shopping and medicine pick up basically anything any one needed we supplied and fulfilled it for them all for free.

"We dealt with electricity companies that wanted to terminate a supply because the client had no money to pay a bill and arranged to get them back up and running that day.

The cafe's food bank

"We were asked to supply hay for a horse at one point which we couldn't do.

"Worked with Focus for Hope in Brighouse, Mothershare, Halifax Kitchen, Noah's Ark, Ash Green School and many others in the area to coordinate as fast a response to the growing need that was appearing due to Covid.

"Once the church reopened we agreed to have all our food and contacts back to the NBCC church so they could re-open fully stocked.

"At this point still couldn't open due to the Threeways site being closed to the public so we looked for another way to help.

Martin Durgan (left) NBCC - Paul Holdsworth (right) The Hub handing back the food bank to the church

"Cuncillor Dan Southerland contacted us and asked if we could help feed 200 children each day during school holidays so we agreed and continue to do this every school holiday.

"We have been approached by Jannine at the TAGS (Talented and Gifted in Sport) programme to help supply food to up to 60 children at Moorside School during the school holidays we have agreed, starting in the Easter holidays.

"We also catered for The Paddock Community Trust's open day and supplied 200 burgers and our outside catering team for their fundraiser, covering our own costs."

Now after a more than two years, the cafe has finally opened for customers.

"We have been open for deliveries and collections every weekend during the whole story just earning enough to pay our bills ensuring that we can re-open," said Paul.

"We opened our doors to the public earlier this month, and one of the first people through the door was our last customer on the day we shut who said "I wasn't missing your opening day since I was the last to be served on the day you closed", which was so lovely to see."

The cafe is set to host a craft club, as well as a hustings event on April 9 for the Ovenden ward.

A cooking school at the cafe starts in June, while there are also plans to start a restaurant night for budding local chefs to hone their skills.

"We'll continue to support the community any way we can," said Paul. "We are at the centre of our community and have a duty to use our space to help who we can."