‘It’s all got to go back!’ Local homeless shelter loses £2,780 worth of Crowdfunding donations

  • Appeal to save Coffee4Craig’s kitchen after their second set of domestic ovens in a year has failed
  • The charity received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services earlier this year
  • Founder Risha Lancaster was the guest of honour at The Body Shop’s Manchester Arndale store last week

In one wrong click of a button Coffee4Craig’s owners are back to square one after accidentally opting to return all money when a fundraising target for new ovens was not met.

The charity needs to raise £18,000 to pay for new commercial ovens at its base so it can continue to cook meals for the many homeless people it serves from its base in Great Ducie Street.

Founder Risha Lancaster had set up the Crowdfunder appeal but the charity only managed to raise a total of £2,780.

Risha founded Coffee4Craig in 2013 following the tragic death of her brother to homelessness.

She said: “At first I started handing out coffees to those in need on the street, I’d tell them that it was from Craig. I didn’t expect the message to spread the way that it did.”

After relocating to Great Ducie Street in February 2020, the national lockdown imposed just four weeks later meant plans to refurbish the kitchen were halted.

Within just a year their second set of domesticated ovens stopped working.

Risha said: “The ovens are on for four to five hours per night serving around 720 meals each month without including seconds.”

Homeless Shelter 'Coffee4Craig', Great Ducie Street
Coffee4Craig located on Great Ducie Street, Manchester

The £18,000 target was to pay for a commercial standard refurbishment.

Despite not reaching their goal amount the fundraiser had managed to make a total of £2,780 which unfortunately they will never see.

She told NQ: “With Crowdfunder you either make your target and keep all of the money or you don’t and everything goes back.

“There is an option to keep what you did raise but we pressed the wrong button, so it’s all got to go back!”

Raising the £18,000 would not have only meant feeding those in need but also helping teach homeless people how to cook .

Risha said: “Our chef is currently undertaking a teaching qualification so once we come out of the pandemic, the biggest employer is the catering industry, and we want to give people the skills to get jobs in this sector.”

After receiving the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service earlier this year Risha is determined to push on.

“Our biggest aim in the next year is to become more self-sufficient, we’re always looking at things so we’re not reliant on funding,” she said.

Coffee4Craig currently sell its own collection of merchandise from hoodies to mugs and hopes to launch a nutritional food subscription service once the refurbishment is complete.

Risha said: “People who are working and haven’t got time to cook like me might want to start buying that.”

In a positive turn of events, Risha had the honour of cutting the ribbon at The Body Shop’s Manchester Arndale grand store opening event last weekend.

Risha Lancaster cutting the ribbon on The Body Shop store, Manchester Arndale
Risha Lancaster cutting the ribbon at The Body Shop’s grand store opening in Manchester Arndale
Credit: Coffee4Craig

Bethany Johnson, team leader at the store, chose Risha to help with the big reveal because of her work in the community.

She said: “I was looking for someone who stood for what The Body Shop embodies when I came across Risha.

“She really does care about her charity and will be a great representative for us.”

Bethany said The Body Shop allow employees to take paid volunteer days to work with local charities such as Coffee4Craig.

“We’ve said on one of our days we can go and help Risha organise a spa day at C4C so that will be really nice,” she said.