24/07/19 \ Ursula Hoffmann

For a cup of coffee with the neighbours

Iced coffee is the drink of the day today. At summery temperatures the tables in front of the TAS-Café are already full: In the shade of the large awning, residents of the Immanuel-Grözinger-Haus (IGH) and the neighborhood have made themselves at home. The atmosphere is cheerful, the cake delicious. Nevertheless, the TAS-Café is much more than a normal coffee bar – it is an important link between the residents and staff of the IGH and the neighbors. Open once a week, it has become a popular meeting place and the number of regular guests is high.

A long-time neighbor tells: “When I visit the TAS-Café, I always take vegetables with me that are grown in the IGH’s neighborhood garden. I also like to meet friends from the area here.” Everybody knows each other, you can perceive that quickly. Some only pass by the bar for a short chat, others have more time available to stay. Staff and residents also stop by and enjoy the familiar atmosphere, as Markus Vordermeier, head of the neighborhood garden, explains.

Inside, the tiny 30 square meter Café is comfortably designed: The counter with mosaic stones, the colorful display cabinet, small coffee tables and creatively painted walls make the TAS-Café an inviting place. It belongs to the IGH-Area nearby the carpenter’s workshop, the bicycle workshop and the neighborhood garden, which also belongs to the IGH.

A significant part of the successful of this small oasis is played by several volunteers who mainly look after the café. Because there is no running water in the building, which consists of an improvised kitchen next to the guest room, everything has to be organized well in advance. Coffee is brought in in thermos flasks; cold drinks are available from large bottles and everyone plays their part in the smooth running of the service.

If you ask the volunteers about their motivation, there are many reasons for their commitment: some of them already had relatives in the IGH and now want to “give something back”. Others simply enjoy getting engaged in society. Everyone is united by the fact that they have put their heart and soul into it. The neighborhood garden also contributes to the success of this integration project.

“When things are getting on top of me at home, I come here”, tells a lady who also lives in the surrounding area. “For a long time I didn’t even know what a great place we have here.”

In addition to direct social exchange, the TAS Café also has another important function: it offers the opportunity to exhibit the various objects made by the residents in the creative workshop and to give them away for a donation: coffee tables, window-mobiles, bird houses and fretwork in the form of Russian Matryoshka dolls stands on the cupboard. “For the appreciation of the people it is extremely important that they see here, how the guests are interested in their works and ideally take them with them for a small donation”, Markus Vordermeier explains the idea of the unusual “sales place”. Because the café is so popular, residents and staff want to extend the opening hours. “We’ll see, if that’s possible in the future,” hopes Armin Bubser, deputy head of the IGH. Certainly it would be a great benefit for the planned housing estate.

posted in #2019
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