A COMMUNITY cafe that helps vulnerable people in Keighley could close this month.

The Welcome Place Cafe has issued an urgent appeal for cash to tide it over until it can apply for grant money to cover running costs.

The project, based at Keighley Shared Church Hall, is hopeful of gaining funding from the Safer Communities Fund.

But it needs £1,000 to continue providing hot meals for people facing food poverty until the next round of funding in August.

The appeal was issued this week as MP John Grogan visited the Welcome Place to see at first-hand the service it provides.

The cafe has also recently played host to Mark Burns-Williamson, the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, to see how his previous grant from the Safer Communities Fund had been spent.

The Welcome Place had received £3,600 in March 2016 from the fund, which is funded from the proceeds of crime.

The Welcome Place Café is part of the Keighley Food Poverty Action Partnership and provides up to 100 meals a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Mrs Grange said: “Mark Burns-Williamson came to see first-hand how we had spent the funds last year. We also received £4,000 last year from Sovereign Health Care and the rest of the funding was from public donations.

"We have been invited to reapply to the next round of funding in August, but in the meantime, we need to raise £1000 to fund the café over the summer.

“Unless we raise the money to maintain the café, it will close at the end of July.

“As a group, we feel that it is important people affected by food poverty are not stigmatised and so the café is open to everyone and payment for the food is done anonymously, each paying what they can afford.

“We would encourage people to use the café if they can, and if they are able to donate an extra £3, this will provide someone in need with a meal and support.”

Mr Grogan said he visited the Welcome Place Cafe to show his support for the crowdfunding appeal to bridge the gap in funds over the summer.

He said: "The Welcome Place Cafe is needed perhaps more in August than any other time of the year, in particular youngsters who would normally get a hot meal at school risk going without."

The Welcome Place has also set up a crowdfunder campaign so that people can donate money online.

Visit crowdfunder.co.uk/welcome-place-cafe. People can also donate in person or by cheque made out to The Welcome Project, and make the payment at Central Hall, Alice Street, Keighley, BD21 3JD.

The Welcome Place grew out of the Welcome Project, a volunteer-run self-help project which began several years ago in Haworth and ran several services across the area.

The cafe’s customers have included homeless, people with learning disabilities, those with mental health problems, recovering addicts, or people sanctioned from claiming benefits.