A Hereford café that has provided vital food and support for the city’s homeless over winter says it now needs support to help it relocate.

The Living Hope Hub, by the county bus station, has been used by up to 25 guests a night since opening in December according to Vikki Thomas, founder and the driving force behind the initiative.

“We have been surprised by the demand,” she said at an evening to thank those who have lent support since the café opened in early December.


It has found “a niche which was always missing in Hereford” in providing food, support and company between 6 and 8pm, at a time when the mostly male clientele might otherwise “get into trouble”.

It has been staffed entirely by “amazing” volunteers number over 50 in all, with seven on each night including two door staff, Ms Thomas explained. “But there have been no problems inside.”

Hereford Times: Vikki Thomas and Jesse Norman MP settle down for a game of cards with café guestsVikki Thomas and Jesse Norman MP settle down for a game of cards with café guests (Image: LDRS)

“We don’t tolerate violence,” fellow trustee Gareth Tobin added. “But once inside, a calm seems to come over them.”


Now as the agreement with the neighbouring Hereford City Church comes to an end, the café's closure is imminent – something which “left one man in tears, saying ‘what will I do?’,” Ms Thomas said.

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“We have made an offer for a new premises, but now we need funding for it,” she explained.

Local MP Jesse Norman dropped by to show support, while local backers pledging their continued support including estate agent Jackson Property chairman Bill Jackson, GlassHouse Properties director Joe Phillips and Green Dragon hotel managing director Julian Vaughan.

Derek’s* story

“I lost my job in 2019 and was living on my savings. When Covid happened I ‘shut down’, friends and family couldn’t come and keep an eye on me. When my savings ran out and I was evicted, I lived in a tent for two weeks.

“I made things hard for myself, not going to the council housing department. I got some help from St Martin’s (Food Share, in Hinton), who told me about the café here.

“The first couple of nights I didn’t come in – it’s hard. But it’s been the best thing ever. People have asked about me, but said I didn’t have to talk. They don’t push you or judge you.

“I was embarrassed asking for help. But one of the others said we would go to housing together, and I didn’t want to let him down.

“Since then, things have been fitting into place. I have temporary accommodation and have started claiming benefits. It’s going in the right direction.”

* Not his real name