What a wonderful way to start 2024 on Friday 5th January with a heartfelt story about a relatively new charity for York, Chocolate & Co. Mother and Daughter team, Linda and Mariah Barrie, started the charity just over 2 years ago after loosing close friends to suicide during the Covid lockdown. The usual support for these vulnerable people had disappeared and both thought they must do something to try and stop this happening.
Mariah has had 8 years experience working in a young persons charity after gaining her degree in Youth and Community Work. Linda, working as a volunteer, has supported the charity from its conception.
They decided Hot Chocolate drinks, company and support was the starting point and set up a Mobile Drinks Unit appearing in several sites over York. It proved to be very successful, but for the staff, incredibly hot in summer and incredibly cold in winter.
They needed a permanent base to support this desperate community and 2 years later on September 12th 2023 opened Chocolate & Co Cafe in Lowther St.
Staffed by recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, the cafe gives the team a real opportunity for a second chance by building their confidence and gaining full time employment. A video was shown with staff explaining how Mariah and Linda had saved their lives.
It is a great place to visit for both needy and regulars with an extensive range of Hot Chocolates, Coffee, Croissants and Cakes. Amazing daily soups with bread and a whole range of Toasties. Images showed a beautifully designed interior with lots of seating.
The cafe has been incredibly successful with its “Pay it Forward” scheme too. As customers settle their bill, there is an opportunity to buy less fortunate members of our community any drink and dish from the regular menu. A great opportunity for us all to support this charity on a regular basis.
Plans for the future include increasing counselling and classes to help even more people and to start to share their ethos with other York businesses to give employment opportunities to those in recovery.
See You there, Jane Albon
Chocolate & Co, Lowther St., York. YO31 7NB.