The Southlanders community group in Shoreham has had a very successful year, not only raising money but also increasing the number of visitors to its cafe.
Chairman Ann Martin said she was particularly proud of the volunteers, who take on the responsibility of providing activities for the community.
Speaking at the annual open meeting, Ann detailed the achievements of Southlanders and the community café it runs at the day centre at Milward Court, Wilmot Road, on Monday and Friday mornings.
Doreen Spears, a volunteer kitchen assistant, said the aim of the café was to provide a place for people to meet and to have something to eat at a reasonable price.
She was pleased to say the Friday two-course meal had stayed at the same price for three years and a Monday special had been introduced recently, with dishes such as corned beef hash or filled omelette proving popular.
All kitchen volunteers receive food preparation and hygiene training and the café has a food hygiene rating of 5 from the Food Standards Agency.
Doreen said it was important to make it clear the café is open to everyone and all are welcome.
There are bric-a-brac and book stalls to browse and a weekly raffle is held to help raise money for outings and other activities.
Thanks to fundraising and a grant from Adur East Lions, Southlanders can now pay for a professional exercise instructor to run a weekly exercise class.
The group also has an allotment and Ann Headon takes responsibility for keeping the plot going. Fruit, vegetables and flowers are grown and used by the café for meals, offered to customers for a small donation, or made into jams to sell.
Ann Headon said last summer had been a challenge due to the long spell of hot weather but the tomatoes and cucumbers did exceptionally well in the greenhouse and outside, there were good crops of beans, mangetout and onions.
Ann and Angie organise monthly trips, which are a sell-out. The community bus is hired and Julian, another invaluable volunteer, plans a scenic route. These outings include a visit to a place of interest, plus lunch at a garden centre, pub or carvery. Trips last year included the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield, Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, a horse-drawn canal boat with cream tea and Volks Electric Railway in Brighton.
Southlanders could not run without volunteers and more help is always needed.
The Easter cake sale on Monday went very well and raised £240 towards group funds.
Ann Martin said: “Numbers were up this year and there was a real buzz. The Easter gift table did very well, with the sale of gifts relating to chickens and eggs.
“The cake stall was busy for the whole morning with very little left. This year, we had the addition of a stall selling jewellery and fancy scarves, which was a great success.
“There was a suggestion that as it is becoming so good, we could turn it into an Easter fair and run a hat competition, egg hunt, etc., so the committee has a lot to discuss at the next meeting.
“It is always good to see members of the community supporting us in keeping the café running, as it is a vital resource for the area.”