25th Anniversary

Charity and a hot cuppa

A milestone for a church coffee shop

SYCAMORE Tree Coffee Shop opened in 1986 with the vision of providing a window of Scots Uniting Church to the community.

Since then, visitors to the Burgundy St cafe have not only enjoyed a hot cuppa, they have contributed to charity.

As well as serving up cosy favourites such as scones, soups and hearty dishes, the Heidelberg eatery has used its resources to make a difference to the lives of people in the community.

For one group of women, this has meant meeting at the same table each week for 15 years to exchange stories about life.

It has also given opportunities to those with intellectual disabilities a chance to expand their work experience skills and build confidence.

The popular meeting place has also raised $200,000 over the years for organisations including Austin Health and the local Exodus refugee community.

As the coffee shop celebrated its 25th birthday this month, management guidance committee member Nan Caple reflected on the contribution volunteers had made to ensure its success. The cafe was managed by one paid staff member and relied on the generosity of volunteers to operate, she said.

Ms Caple said volunteers had ranged from work experience students to 85 year olds. All embraced the sense of hospitality.

“It’s a very warm environment and it’s open to anybody,” she said.

Ms Caple said past and present volunteers were acknowledged during a recent church service as part of the shop’s birthday celebrations.


Heidi Bergmeier, Heidelberg Leader – August 30th 2011