In 1986 the caretaker of Tilehurst Methodist Church retired and 28 School Road became vacant.
In March 1987 an ecumenical project began, involving some of the Christian Churches in Tilehurst; Methodist, Anglican, URC, Roman Catholic, Free Baptist and Free Evangelical. It was felt there was a need for a place for people to meet for refreshment and relaxation.
A decision was made to use the vacant property to open The Link. It would be a Christian Coffee Shop and Meeting Place and volunteers working in The Link would be able to provide a listening ear for those who came in. It would also be an opportunity for people to buy Christian books and greetings cards.
After much planning, re-building and renovation, a constitution was agreed and a Management Committee was formed in January 1988. On April 29th 1989 The Link was officially opened by Mrs Paddy Day, a local councillor.
Two hundred volunteers from nine churches were recruited to run the project; to look after the property, to go shopping, to arrange flowers, to do the laundry, to bake cakes, to make soup, to work in the kitchen, to serve in the café and to make time to listen to customers who needed to talk. The project did not set out to make a profit, yet even though the prices in the café have always been very reasonable it has been possible to donate money in the past to many different charities which have been chosen by the churches involved. Each day starts and ends with prayer and includes prayer requests from customers.
In the 30 years since we started, many volunteers have naturally come and gone, due to the onset of age, relocating or other commitments so we always welcome more to replace those who leave! Interested in volunteering? Contact us here.