With longer days and the feeling of Spring in the air you may be looking for new places to visit for a cup of coffee and some cake. As part of a new series of reports on church run coffee shops, Graeme Duncan pays a visit to The Runway at Martlesham.

    The Runway coffee shop which is based in St. Michael’s Church, Martlesham annexe was started about eight years ago by Helen who saw it as an opportunity for outreach by the church into the local community. She literally began with a table and kettle, and some tea bags and coffee. Since then it has grown out of all recognition. When Helen had to give up running the coffee shop for a time, owing to her having to care for her mother who was
    suffering from dementia, the then vicar decided to take Helen’s project further and developed the coffee shop into what it is today.
    The Runway boasts a very attractive environment in which to meet and relax over a cup of
    coffee. Immediately on the right on entering you find the counter and kitchen area staffed by friendly, and welcoming volunteers. A wide variety of Fair Trade teas and coffees are
    available. Coffee is supplied by Indigo Valley. To compliment that is the choice of different
    cakes, fruit and cheese scones and toasted teacakes, all at very reasonable prices. I chose to have a coffee and fruit scone which came with two portions of butter, plus a jam of my choice and all for just £2.30. The service was excellent with my purchase even being served at my table for me.
    The Runway has recently been awarded a 5-star food hygiene rating by the local council.
    Liz, the manager, told me that the coffee shop is run by volunteers, mainly from the church but regular customers have also come on board to help too. One of the church ministers is on hand to chat with customers a couple of sessions each week.
    Liz said, ‘There have been some amazing conversations. We have been able to offer support to people, a safe place to be, and the opportunity for chat with friendly faces.’
    The coffee shop is also a meeting place for two community groups. The Woolly Wonders
    knitting group meets every Thursday morning to knit, chat, and have a cup of coffee together. Rachel who runs this group, which attracts anything from 8 to 20 people each week, said, ‘The Runway has enabled the group to meet in a warm and friendly environment with good refreshments.’
    The men aren’t left out either. The coffee shop also hosts a social event for men called ‘Coding For Codgers’. (For the uninitiated, coding is how to write computer programmes.) Whilst mainly retired British Telecom employees, they welcome all men to come along and join them, and not only men either, or even ‘old codgers’……they welcome ‘codgettes’ too! If you are interested in joining them email Ken for further information
    The Runway is a friendly coffee shop to visit. Do give it a try. It also has free wi-fi available and offers payment by card too.
    Check out their Facebook page for up to date information –
    The Runway‘s opening hours are: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday – 9am to 12noon
                                                                              Saturday – 9.30am to 12noon
    The Runway Coffee Shop, The Drift, Martlesham, Ipswich, IP5 3PL