A uniquely community café run by Interlock Waipā and conveying a message of inclusion opened recently for a few hours each Wednesday.
The Cambridge Community Connection Café runs from 10am to 12 noon on Wednesdays at the Cambridge Junior Rugby and Community Sports Club on the Victoria Rd/ Taylor St corner and welcomes all comers, ages and abilities.
Its launch marks another Interlock initiative intended to bridge the gap between members of the disability community and the wider community.
“The goal,” said Interlock founder and programme manager Aaron Ure, “is to provide space where the community, families and the disability community can connect and create new friendships. It is where life, disability and community connect.”
The café offers easy access to inexpensive hot drinks and freshly baked goods. Customers can take part in activities and themed table conversations if they like.
Its launch has been on the cards for a while, but like other initiatives parked up the Interlock Waipā sleeve, plans were stymied by Covid.
Aaron said this past term has been one of reconnection for Interlockers. “After lockdowns and rampant Covid cases, it has been a true joy to finally come back together.”
Aaron and his wife Lois Ure launched Interlock Waipā in 2020, aimed at providing a safe place where people with disabilities could meet regularly to enjoy activities free of judgement around what they were or weren’t able to do. They work on craft projects and build birdhouses while expanding their social horizons and selling some of their completed projects, thereby adding to the kitty.
Aaron and Lois, plus a bunch of volunteers and Cambridge High School students, steered the group through gatherings held initially at the Red Cross Hall, then the Alpha Lodge Hall before a more permanent ‘home’ became available at the Cambridge Junior Rugby and Community Sports Club. A growing number of members, who come from Cambridge and Te Awamutu, now meet there five days a week.
Three of their volunteers – John Taris, Niki Larsen and Tineke Bertilink – were finalists in the Volunteering Waikato awards, and new banners came their way courtesy of a local Green Acres franchisee. Support from the community continues to grow, and last year, the InterlockNZ Trust was established to secure the group’s future.
Another of those supporters is the Treetown Steamers, a group of stylish afficionados from around the district who are set to deliver their ‘steampunk’ message at the Cambridge Town Hall this weekend.
Steampunk started in the United States. It has since spread globally, spreading its penchant for fashion linked to science fiction, the Industrial Revolution and Victoriana.
The Treetown Steamers will hold their Winter Gathering at the Town Hall from 9.30am to 1.30 pm this Sunday, complete with a mini steampunk fashion parade, high tea, tea duelling, teapot racing and face painting. All proceeds will go to Interlock.