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INTERVIEW: Sadness as Morecambe town centre cafe closes down

The Welcome Cafe on Victoria Street in Morecambe

The owners of a Morecambe town centre cafe have spoken of their sadness and regret at having to close due to rising energy bills.

Elaine Oldfield and Cath Evans have come to the difficult decision to shut The Welcome Cafe on Victoria Street.

Elaine and Cath previously worked in the former Lewis's cafe in the Arndale centre (now home to Burger King) before taking over and running The Welcome Cafe from the Arndale premises.

They then moved into the former Victoria Hotel pub building seven years ago, and closed their doors for the final time on Saturday.

"The reason why we've closed down is because we just can't sustain the energy prices," said Elaine.

"It's a very very sad time and Cath and I have not come to this point without a lot of regret, but it's had to be done.

"We won't be the first and we won't be the last. People in higher places do not realise what they are doing with our country and how it's affecting hard working people who've put their heart and soul into everything. It makes me sad and it makes me cross as well."

LISTEN to Elaine and Cath talking about the closure of The Welcome Cafe

Here is a photo of The Welcome Cafe staff Elaine and Cath (at the front) and Yvonne Wilson and Trish Duckworth before the closure.

Elaine and Cath are well-known in Morecambe town centre for their work raising money for charities from the cafes they have worked in over the years.

In 2016, they received an award from Morecambe Town Council for raising funds to pay for a defibrillator in the Arndale.

"I started in Lewis's in 1999 and when we stopped working for Lewis's we took over the premises in the Arndale and from there, we came down Victoria Street," said Elaine.

"We've been in this building seven happy years, a lovely lovely cafe.

"This is a basic, homely cafe where people feel at home. People come in and it may be the only time they get out of the house, and we have a good natter with them. They always go out of our cafe laughing.

"We'd just like to say a huge thank you to all our customers who have helped us through support, charities that we've done, and being there for us. Without them, we wouldn't be here. We're really sorry, but it's had to come."

The Welcome Cafe is the second cafe to close in the town centre in recent weeks after The Buttery on Anderton Street shut its doors in July, also citing rising energy costs and an increase in the price of goods.

According to Time Out, a survey of more than 1,000 UK small businesses recently found that 54 percent were concerned that high bills could lead to closure this year.

Related Story: Rising prices lead to closure of popular Morecambe sandwich shop - Beyond Radio

Cath and Elaine are now clearing out the premises and have several items for sale - including chairs, tables, a display cabinet, dishwasher, kitchen equipment and more. If anyone is interested please contact Cath at catherineevans3@hotmail.co.uk

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