THE Working Together Café in Ludlow Town Centre is to close.

Working Together supports people with learning difficulties and the café has been a feature of the town for many years.

But it is no longer sustainable.

The café in Tower Street will close in 2019 when the lease comes to an end.

“The lease on the café comes to an end in 2019 and this has urged us on to think very carefully about the future,” said Roma Jackson, chair of Working Together.

She blamed austerity and the competition from other cafes in the town for the decision to close.

Other factors include the lack of facilities, repairs that are needed and a shortage of volunteers.

A decision to start opening on Saturdays to increase the number of customers has also not been successful.

“The café has served us well for many years but sadly has become increasingly unsustainable,” she added.

“It isn’t wise for us to have to depend so heavily upon the generosity of the public, the generous grants and contributions from our benefactors simply in order to keep the doors of the café open.

“In the present climate of austerity and the massive competition from other cafés in Ludlow we struggle to entice enough customers in - however delicious and lovingly made our offer is.

“Although it seemed sensible at the time the Saturday opening has been hugely disappointing.

“Our wonderful café manager Fee has worked amazingly hard bringing her energy, her warm welcome and innovation to the café but still the income does not justify the effort.

“The truth is the café is not fit for purpose.”

In its present condition the building is not easily accessible for people with disabilities, the stairs are a problem and there is no lift.

“The footfall, although always the incentive to stay in the town centre, has been static for some time and latterly is falling and based mainly upon regular Working Together supporters,” added Ms Jackson.

“The building is in need of significant investment with fixtures, fittings and equipment at the end of their useful life. Although the landlord is, and has always been supportive, the internal decoration and improvements are our responsibility.

“Due to space constraints - no more than three members can participate each day.”

“Three members plus support workers plus Working Together staff and volunteers – this leaves little space for customers and limits the income generation potential to meet the costs of the building.

“The Trustees have given all of this very serious thought and have reached the conclusion that for the future of Working Together we now need to move on. This is a decision we have not taken lightly.”

The Group believes that it has found a new home at the Rockspring Centre.

“We are determined that our current offer of Youth Club, Diversity Club, Sports Club, Writers Club, Sewing Bee and fun social activities will continue without being at risk of being pulled down by the financial drain of the Café,” Ms Jackson said.