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Filo Coffee House Opens in Aberdeen, Offering Community Support and Employability Training


A new coffee house helping to write a better story for the city filo coffee house has officially opened its doors after soft launching in May to train up staff and volunteers.

Part of Catalyst Vineyard Church, filo will be staffed by volunteers and aims to make a positive impact on the local community with an employability project and a pay-it-forward system. It will also be a drop-off point for food donations and will include a sophisticated energy conservation scheme.

Quality, sustainability, and collaboration are at the heart of the new coffee house, which offers homemade lunch options and coffee from the Inverness Roasting Company. filo will also be home to Transform Food, a catering employability project that aims to create pathways to work for people facing significant barriers to employment through training opportunities within a supportive, structured and encouraging environment.

filo’s coffee shop manager, Chris Granges, said: “I wanted to be a part of filo because of the difference and impact it could have on people’s lives in Aberdeen. The name derives from the Latin “filum”, meaning threads, and is inspired by the fact that all lives are woven together, and our actions have an impact: from the grower of the coffee to the maker of the soup and to the volunteer serving the table.

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“Where possible, we use local and independent businesses to supply our ingredients such as bread from the Breadmaker and drinks from LemonAid. We also intend to build additional relationships with small, local businesses, creating a space for them to showcase their food.”

Speaking to Aberdeen Business News, Chris commented “Most of our volunteers have come from the church. We’ve had students, young adults and retirees helping out. They’ve been really great, We had a training session last night, where we worked on customer service and about how to do outreach within the community and how to build trust within that community too.”

“With filo, we’re able to do more because it’s not just our customers who are part of the story but also the volunteer staff, participants in Transform Food, our employability project, and local business owners.”

The team behind Transform Food have previously provided work placements to individuals from HMP Grampian’s Community Integration Unit, refugees, and individuals with drug and alcohol dependencies, and have seen individuals secure permanent, paid employment just two weeks after finishing their placement. Through collaborating with filo, Transform Food is now able to offer their services on a wider scale to see more lives transformed.

Scott Calder, Transform Food’s Catering Manager and Chef, shared his vision for the business: “By definition, hospitality is a people-focused industry. It’s about creating dishes our customers love but it’s also about the people who create the dishes. I’m using my passion to encourage and empower those in need in our community, using food as a vehicle to develop skills and build confidence. I’m excited to combine my love of food and service to make a difference to people’s lives. It’s a real privilege to be part of the team.”

The John Street Building will also be the home of the Aberdeen North site of Catalyst Vineyard Church, a community pantry and a venue space which is available for hire.

In an interview with Union Media, the North Site Pastor, Scott Robertson, said: “we want to create a really fun and safe space for people to hang out. So by the coffee shop here, it’s a brilliant first step in the door for people to come and see what the church is all about.”

“We want this space to be a place where everyone is welcome and accepted. One of the things we’re really excited about is being able to serve the most marginalised and disadvantaged in society, especially in the current economic climate which is causing real hardship”

“We hope that people will get a chance to see some of the amazing stuff we do as a church, such as we have a cap debt centre that helps people get out of debt when they find themselves in a tricky situation. We’re just about to see our 50th client go debt-free, which is amazing, to know that 50 families or individuals are not living with that dread hanging over them”

filo, located on John St, has now officially opened its doors to the public and will be open from Tuesday – Friday, 8.30 am to 2.00 pm with plans to extend their opening times as the business grows.

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