I recently went to check out a new, special coffee shop which has opened in East London. Carry on reading to see what I thought…
Chapters Coffee Corner is an amazing new coffee shop which opened last month. It is a special and unique social enterprise cafe. One of the most exciting things about this lovely little coffee shop is its location! Chapters Coffee Shop is actually located next door to a Masjid – which is a Muslim place of prayer! The coffee shop is attached to Masjid Al-Ansar in Goodmayes, Ilford. I think this is a really exciting venture and a great initiative for a Masjid to do. In the current climate that we live in Masjids have a reputation of being closed off and inaccessible. Unfortunately in some cases this is actually true and is not the way Masjids are meant to be. Masjids are meant to be an important part of the community for all to be able to access if they want to. Chapters Coffee Corner is great way to ensure the Masjid is open to all in the community and a great way to support community cohesion and relationships.
When I visited the coffee shop I found it to be lively and bustling and open for all, with people from all backgrounds enjoying a warm drink and delicious food. It is truly a place for the whole community to come together and enjoy some lovely food and each other’s company, regardless of culture or creed.
The coffee shop is run by volunteers who each give up their time to give back to the community and the Masjid. All proceeds from the coffee shop go to the running of the Masjid and get put back into the community through activities and events that the Masjid hosts.
Another incredible scheme which the coffee shop supports is ‘Suspended Coffees’. This is a nation wide incentive where you can buy a coffee for yourself and another one for someone else who is in need of it. They can come claim the hot drink you paid for at a later time. I think this scheme is an absolutely fantastic idea and one I have seen running in many other places. I am so pleased to see a Muslim run coffee shop taking part in the scheme as charity is such an important pillar of Islam and highly regarded and encouraged. To find out more about the scheme check out their website – http://suspendedcoffees.com/
Chapters Coffee Corner is really looking to break down any barriers or misconceptions people may have about Islam, Masjids or Muslims. The staff are really friendly and welcoming and always happy to answer any questions anyone may have or have a chat. The coffee shop also has a small literature stand where you are free to take any of the literature to read up and find out more about Islam if you want to. I think this is a great way of helping with community relations and cohesion and clearing up any misconceptions people may have about Islam.
The coffee shop also has a lovely little corner where they sell items like books, dates and black seed oil.
The coffee shop is hoping to extend to include a reading room in the future where they are planning to hold a range of events including lectures and book club. They are also planning to allow people to hire the venue for private events and gatherings.
Getting There: As I mentioned earlier Chapters Coffee Corner is located in Goodmayes in Ilford in East London. There are lots of parking options near by including free on street parking, a car park for the retail park across the road and a paid car park a few minutes away if you are looking to spend over 2 hours in the coffee shop. The nearest station is Goodmayes Station (TFL Rail) and a number of bus routes pass by the coffee shop including the 86 and 364 bus.
Menu: The menu ranges from savoury paninis, bagels and sandwiches to sweet cookies, cakes and pastries. There are also a number of different hot drinks, smoothies and juices. The menu varies daily as some of the baked goodies are sourced from local bakers within the area and depends on what they can supply. When I visited I had a lovely cappuccino and a delicious slice of chocolate orange cake!
Pricing: In my opinion the price is average for what you expect to pay in any typical coffee shop. Chapters Coffee Corner offer 20% discount to those who work in the London Fire Brigade, Metropolitan Police, and NHS in the spirit of giving back to the community 😀
Final Thoughts: I completely fell in love with this small and special community coffee shop. It is such a rare gem within the Muslim community and has such a positive vibe and message – one that is really needed and is a true representation of Islam and Muslims 😀 Is is great to see a Masjid and Muslims engaging in social enterprise, something which is such an important part of Islam and something that is so needed in the current climate. I pray that Chapters Corner Coffee continues to grow and prosper and be an important part of the community 😀