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Square 1 Café: Uncovering The Hidden Gem


Get ready for something exciting — a fantastic editorial piece by Chris Orton, a local resident who graciously shares their visitor’s perspective. Our main focus? The one and only Square 1 Café. Join us on this captivating journey as Chris unveils the café’s unique charm and inviting atmosphere.

Something that makes me terribly sad is knowing that there are cold, hungry, lonely people out there; it’s unnecessary.

We now have Warm Banks; places people can go to be warm. I’m horrified that in the 21st century, we need them – but we do. Until recently I knew nothing about this scheme and that they often run in conjunction with ‘Community Larders.’ ANYONE can use them – you don’t have to be ‘approved’ or show ‘proof’ – no questions asked.

I first learned this at Chessington’s Square One Café. The ethos is ‘Remember, everyone is welcome and everything is free.’ This included the light lunch and refreshments served.

I’d gone there to meet a friend. We both have busy lives; it seemed the perfect meeting place – not to mention he’d been instrumental in the Café’s setup!

I loved it and it’s something I very much want to promote. Friendship – activities – a welcoming, safe place for all.

Why do I care so much? Not so many years ago I was in a situation; going through a divorce and at risk of being homeless. I’d been doing voluntary work (my daughter was still at school) I had to count every penny – didn’t dare put my heating on. It was frightening and excruciatingly lonely. Good friends helped me – fed us – gave us shelter.  And yes, I have ‘slept rough’ though my daughter was always safe with friends.

Today? All is well! But you never forget an experience like that. I want to repay some of what I was once given when I most needed it. Promoting Square One Café helps me pay it forward; the project and its friendly band of happy volunteers have given me new friends, and different opportunities and help feed me!

What more could I ask?

A regular customer to Square 1 Café Chessington in Kingston Upon Thames

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