Hub makes its cof­fee a so­cial brew

The Hutt News - - CONVERSATIONS - COLIN WIL­LIAMS

Cof­fee drinkers at Tren­tham’s Hub Cafe are ‘‘pay­ing-it-for­ward’’, choos­ing to share their love of the bean with those less for­tu­nate.

Cus­tomers buy­ing a cof­fee can pay for a sec­ond brew which is then avail­able, at a fu­ture time, to some­one more in need through their tak­ing a tag off a com­mu­nal wall and re­deem­ing it, owner­op­er­a­tor Vladimir Miller said.

‘‘It is quite dif­fer­ent but it’s been re­ally well sup­ported.’’

Some cus­tomers opt to do­nate their ev­ery fifth cof­fee, giv­ing back the ‘‘free’’ drink earned on the Hub’s loy­alty card.

‘‘What­ever way it’s done, it works,’’ Miller said. ‘‘These peo­ple are try­ing to sup­port the com­mu­nity they live in.’’

Those en­joy­ing the pay-it­for­ward cof­fee are grate­ful.

‘‘We make it as incog­nito for them as we can. We have about three or four peo­ple who come in each day, we know their sit­u­a­tion and we know it’s some­thing pos­i­tive for them. Oth­ers we see ev­ery few days or so.’’

‘‘It’s built and built. We’d get more than 10 do­nated a day now,’’ said Miller who makes 70 cof­fees a day from his 5.30am week­day start till 3pm.

‘‘This is a place for peo­ple to be re­spected and feel they be­long. We get peo­ple from all walks of life in here. It’s a real nice mix,’’ Miller said.

The Fer­gus­son Dr cafe’s pay-it­for­ward ap­proach un­der­lines that is it aim­ing to be a busi­ness with a so­cial con­science. Along with its af­ford­able food, sec­ond-hand goods and a wel­com­ing com­mu­nity space,The Hub Cafe Op Shop is out there on its own.

The Op Shop arm of the busi­ness is busy with com­mu­nity do­na­tions of goods steady and their knock-down prices ap­pre­ci­ated by shop­pers.

‘‘I’ve had ladies in here cry­ing with hap­pi­ness be­cause they’ve been able to buy some things for their chil­dren,’’ Miller said.

A for­mer youth worker, Miller, 26, orig­i­nally planned for the The Hub to be a venue more for younger peo­ple but has been sur­prised by the wide range of cus­tomers it is at­tract­ing.

Miller was born in Rus­sia and, as a four-year-old, was adopted by a cou­ple in Lower Hutt where he grew up and con­tin­ues to live. ‘‘I have no mem­ory of Rus­sia, my ear­li­est mem­o­ries are with school here, ‘‘ he said.

Since its start in Fe­bru­ary, the cafe has also sup­ported peo­ple over­seas. The To Rus­sia With Love Aid Project is close to Mil- ler’s heart and The Hub is also sup­port­ing the Tren­tham-based Dugdale Char­i­ta­ble Trust (which owns the cafe build­ing) in fund­ing sta­tionery needs for ju­nior school stu­dents in Uganda.

More than $1000 had al­ready been do­nated.

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