Cafe owner on a year of making her community smile
- Credit: Archant
For almost four years, Michelle Filby has nestled herself into a mid-Norfolk community with her sweet treats and welcoming smile.
Co-owner of The Coffee Shop in Wymondham, the 37-year-old has been at the helm serving hot beverages and delicious cakes while helping others at the same time.
And during her latest fundraiser, she collected £190 in donations for Dementia UK – a charity helping families to face the condition.
Armed with a donation box, The Coffee Shop saw its customers delve deep into their pockets to help the cause. Miss Filby explained why it was something close to her heart.
She said: “My granddad, William ‘Bill’ Filby, grew up in Wymondham and sadly passed away earlier this year.
“Granddad had previously been suffering with dementia and my heart broke the day he asked my father who I was when we were visiting.
“The work of any charity is amazing but we have chosen Dementia UK due to this personal connection.”
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As well as collecting donations, the Market Street-based cafe held a raffle to win a floral treat donated by a fellow independent business in the town, The Enchanted Willow.
And during the charity’s Time for a Cuppa event, The Coffee Shop donated 30pc of its takings from orders of a bake and hot drink.
Miss Filby added: “Thank you to everyone who donated and helped us reach our target, and a special thanks to the florist, The Enchanted Willow, for donating its lovely flowers and having a donation box too.
"We were blown away by the beautiful arrangement kindly donated to us to use as a raffle prize.
“Customers were very generous popping all of their change into the donation box.”
The Norwich resident is no stranger to helping others and has used The Coffee Shop since August 2017 to help join in with community events.
Earlier this year, she also compiled and put up a St George’s day display in The Coffee Shop window for passers-by to read some interesting facts about the day. She said that had been "well-received". And last year, she marked VJ Day with an event.
The vintage-themed cafe held a 75th anniversary of VJ Day event with a two-minute silence to honour those who fought in east Asia.
As well as decorating throughout, playing music of the era, and dressing as Land Girls, both owners spent time listening to stories of those who lived through the war.
Miss Filby, along with her co-owner, Karen Ireland, said at the time that they wanted to bring history to life with homemade cakes, scones, and “some hearty meals”.
“During lockdown, we made sure to have a tea party at home for VE day,” Miss Filby added.
“We spent the morning baking and decorating my driveway, while listening to the songs that won the war music, before spending the afternoon enjoying eating the cakes and scones. We wanted to do something similar at the shop for VJ Day.
“During the town’s two-minute silence we observed, I had a tear in my eye and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.
"We have also been blown away with the support for the Dementia UK fundraiser. It was also nice to bring a bit of joy and smiles to the townsfolk when we put on our other events.
"It has been amazing to be part of the community in Wymondham, and it was especially heart-warming to see so many people, residents, and business owners alike coming together during lockdown and the pandemic.
"Through the reopening phases, the businesses in the town have come together as well. Personally, I have developed good relationships with Mad Hatter's Tea Room, The Courtyard Coffee Shop, and The Enchanted Willow."