Whitstable’s Revival café celebrates success in building mental health community 

Nearing a successful year in business, the Whitstable cafe owned by Mind, a mental health charity, makes important partnerships securing their future goals. The woman managing this vintage cafe with a twist explains their success.

As you enter this 60s themed café, you notice an array of customers eating ice cream and veggie burgers. You look around to find the Elvis Presley wall art, vintage decorated plates and a huge gramophone by the till.

But their retro theme isn’t their only unique trait.

Outside cafe window showing events and charities.
Above: Revival cafe window.

Revival café, in Oxford Street, Whitstable, is owned by Mind in Bexley-Heath. They have managed to create a local community for people to feel safe and supported during their visit.

Coming up to a year in business, café manager Lynne Forester said: “I am really proud of how far we have come, this year Revival has seen so many achievements. Ranging from the launch of our Pay It Forward scheme, to the successful turn-outs at our fundraising events.”

It all started with an idea. Their CEO David Palmer initially wanted the cafe to be a fun space where people can relax, be happy and meet new people.

So far, the success of the cafe has exceeded their expectations and Lynne said: “We are now hoping to introduce a qualified mental health worker, to provide necessary support for the customers that need it.”

Each Wednesday morning the cafe opens bright and early to welcome in a local anxiety group to host their regular meetings. This is a group that the cafe have often referred customers to that have spoken out about needing extra support. Where appropriate, they have also referred people to the services that Mind provide.

Rewinding back to where it all began, the café started as an ice cream parlour – only serving waffles and crepes.

It has since evolved to serving a fully vegetarian menu, hosting fundraising events and supporting those with mental health issues. They are a non-profit business and put all that they can into the Mind charity, including their upcoming event featuring Martin Collins.

Outside blackboard showing upcoming events.
Above: The Revival cafe events board.

With an evening set menu and a world-class magician, the café will be hosting a fundraiser hoping to see table to table magic for all that attend. All proceeds from the evening will be going to Mind where it will be spent on supporting the development of local mental health services.

The team has an eventful history of fundraising evenings, including Christmas tree decorating, DJ nights and cooking classes. Raising money to support those with mental illnesses has always been their goal, and on a regular basis they see a variety of customers with a range of different backgrounds.

Lynne said that one of their regulars has been coming in for a while now and only feels safe coming into the Revival cafe: “We often have a lovely lady come in who has severe anxieties about leaving her house, but considers this as a space where she can feel comfortable to sit and have a chat with us. On most visits she will also bring a vinyl along to play on our gramophone, it’s usually Barry Manilow!”

Showing the decor of Revival Cafe.
Above: Revival cafe interior decor.

As the café has started to evolve, more families and children are starting to come in.

Lynne said: “We also see a lot of parents bringing in their children with a few friends. Often the parents will then leave the children here to eat their meal and return later to pay the bill.

“This is wonderful to see as it gives more children the chance to have independence at such a young age. Revival is considered a safe space for people to relax and have fun, as well as a place for parents to feel at ease when thinking about their child’s whereabouts.”

After being in business for almost a year, the café has high hopes for its future.

They are currently working on forming partnerships with the Canterbury College catering department, providing a series of work experience placements at the cafe for students with severe anxiety. The Revival Cafe aim to build confidence in those who apply and hope to eventually put them in contact with Mind, helping them grow as individuals.

Facebook customer reviews.
Above: Facebook customer reviews.

Social media reviews prove the success of this little cafe, with a prominent 5 star rating and many customers leaving with pure delight. Their staff, atmosphere and food have been complimented multiple times, due to exceeding many expectations.

Their events for the celebrated holidays including Christmas and Easter were also a huge success, bringing in many families to enjoy what they had organised. With an array of food decorating classes, live music and new food dishes, customers were treated to a range of events to celebrate.

The Revival Cafe has almost been going for one year and so far they are on the right path to success.