Community café re-opens at Light Dragoons base in Swanton Morley
An army wife has helped revive a recently-closed community café, giving soldiers and their families a place to relax at a military base near Dereham.
The café, which is housed within the community centre at Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley re-opened last week to serve snacks to the servicemen and women of the Light Dragoons, and their families.
It’s aim is to give a welcoming atmosphere and a focal point for the community outside the military work of the base.
The project is being run by 28-year-old Jo Sygrove, originally from Bedale in north Yorkshire, who lives on the barracks with her husband John, 30, who is an armoured vehicle crewman in B Squadron.
She said: “When I moved here in March I didn’t know anyone, if it wasn’t for the café opening I wouldn’t have met as many wives as I know now.
“When I heard that the café was going to close I thought that it was a shame and immediately offered my help to keep it going.”
The building also houses the Noah’s Ark pre-school and the unit welfare office, meaning there is no shortage of customers throughout the day.
Sergeant Bradley Rix, 36, who lives in Dereham, said: “It will be great to have a café again, especially as they will be doing some healthy options. It also gives the lads somewhere to relax outside of military surroundings.”
Regimental Sergeant Major Carl Loughney, 36, who lives in Swanton Morley with his wife Stacey, said: The soldiers already have fantastic catering facilities on the barracks but having our own café means that some of the younger married soldiers are able to meet their partners in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.”
The café, which has received financial assistance from Breckland Council, will also host events including coffee mornings and “mother and toddler” groups. The facility is also used by the Wives’ Club and is available to hire for children’s parties on the camp.