I recently had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Eileen Edwards, the instigator for Common Ground Community Cafe and its driving force, partnered with her husband, Ian. When you walk into the cafe you get a sense of warm, welcoming individualism. The tables have old wooden boards topped with glass and the brick feature walls give a cozy feel to the interior. Crafts and paintings from local artisans are on display throughout the cafe and a notice board is proudly displayed in the entrance.
This volunteer driven cafe encourages its community to engage and develop new relationships within its walls. Everyone can enjoy the space for a multitude of uses from coffee with a friend, to study or an afternoon treat for children. With extensive opening hours, Common Ground caters to young and old, alike.
Eileen Edwards recognized there was a large section of the community segregated from other groups, such as sports and churches, due to non-involvement. Enabling everyone to connect was the reason the cafe was created. Through extensive research, utilizing start up organizations, surveys, County Council support, and numerous conversations with local people, Eileen and Ian formulated a plan to create Common Ground.
With such a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, all ages feel welcome. The aroma of freshly baked biscuits and muffins, and excellent coffee to accompany them, adds to the ambiance. Positivity exudes through Eileen as she foresees the potential for community participation and new partnerships for Common Ground in the future. The facility allows local artisans to show and sell their work; as well, hosting open-mic sessions and providing rental space adds to the sense of community involvement. Eileen reported that local groups as diverse as poets, authors, charity fundraisers, and musicians are more than welcome to use the space. The forty-nine volunteers range in age from fifteen to eighty years, giving the cafe a generational diversity.
Their mission statement says it best for their outlook:
Common Ground is:
Volunteer driven, not-for-profit,
built to cultivate community,
committed to supporting local initiatives.
Why not indulge in an excellent coffee and conversation in a cozy atmosphere? Common Ground Community Cafe can be found at 50 Brentwood Blvd in Sherwood Park AB.
Hours: Tuesday - Friday 8:30 am to 10:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Web Site: www.commongroundcommunitycafe.org/
Be sure to check out their holiday hours posted on their web site.