A 5p charity donation from every cup of tea sold throughout our cafés and takeaways has managed to raise a colossal £2,399.25 during the past year. This impressive amount is being donated to Samaritans of South Devon in Torquay.
Our co-founders, Michael Smith, Louisa Newman and Lee Porter have ensured that Samaritans are intrinsically linked to Venus, as it is a charity close to our hearts.
In the 1960s, Louisa’s mother, Lady Ann Newman, opened ‘The Venus Tea Hut’ at Blackpool Sands: a small wooden hut selling tea and ice-creams from a local dairy. After many reincarnations, the destination grew to sell home grown vegetables, homemade marmalade and knitted bobble hats from a second-hand summerhouse, assisted by young Louisa.
Instead of thinking about retirement when the time came, Lady Ann devoted much of her time to Samaritans for over 30 years. Working well into her eighties, Lady Ann would still work the phones through night shifts, motivated by the friendships she made with the rest of the team, spurred on by the people she helped over the years.
Louisa says, “the Samaritans were such an important part of my mother’s life; it meant a great deal to her. She loved the other volunteers there, and knew she was making a difference to people’s lives. We are pleased to be able to continue to support the Samaritans efforts and the fantastic work they do every day.”
Samaritans of South Devon say, “We can’t thank The Venus Company enough for their extremely generous cheque. It will go a long way towards helping us respond to even more people who are in need of emotional support at any time – round the clock, every single day of the year. Lady Ann is fondly remembered by many former colleagues here in Torquay and her selfless commitment still inspires current volunteers. We cherish our personal connection and ongoing relationship with The Venus Company.”
Lady Ann’s dedication to the Samaritans has been passed through the arteries of the business and instilled in the whole team. Nowadays, our café and takeaways all carry strong ethical messages to promote sustainability. We were the first café to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in 2005, and we won it again in 2010.
Call Samaritans for emotional support using Freephone 116123 or volunteer at Torquay branch by contacting 07531 789828 or visiting their website www.samaritans.org/branches/samaritans-south-devon.