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Gaia Giving

Ceri Ashford, Director and Head Roaster at Gaia Giving CIC, talks about how she blends speciality coffee with a well-being community space

Ceri Ashfird, Gaia Giving CIC

Gaia Giving CIC was established in March 2020. What started as a coffee shop in September 2019 to gain experience in the art of coffee and the hospitality industry, soon transformed into something more profound – a hub dedicated to enhancing the well-being of the local community.

Ceri says: “Before diving into the world of speciality coffee and community building, my background was in chemical engineering. However, the allure of a coffee shop and the promise of a better work–life balance for our family led me to embark on this journey. My experience in manufacturing gave me the confidence to learn coffee roasting, which I absolutely love.”

Gaia Giving CIC is more than just a coffee shop; it is a social and community hub operating six days a week. It offers a safe, welcoming space where individuals can connect, receive support and forge meaningful relationships. “Our well-being baristas play a pivotal role in providing guidance, support, and signposting to other services. Additionally, they facilitate support groups and cultural events, creating connections that foster a robust network within the community,” Ceri continues.

Gaia Giving is committed to improving mental well-being and building a more cohesive community. Alongside the general well-being support, it runs specific local projects, such as work experience placements, Bothered, Girls Against Anxiety, Winner Street Walkers and a community garden project. “Our passion for art also led us to organise popular art projects and poetry evenings for our community.”

As for future plans, the team wants to develop Gaia’s community garden, offering a tranquil space for visitors. Roasting more speciality coffees is also in the mix. “We’re excited to announce that we have launched our ‘Coffee Roasting Experiences’. During these events, participants will gain insights into different coffee types and production methods, while also having the chance to roast coffee together and indulge in a tasting session,” Ceri adds.

To attract coffee enthusiasts and foster customer loyalty, Gaia is running a limited-time offer – buy two bags, get one free – on any speciality coffee blends. Additionally, customers who subscribe to the coffee delivery service will receive a 10% discount on orders, along with the convenience of having Gaia’s special coffee delivered straight to their door.

Ceri shares a tip for anyone aspiring to start up in the food and drink industry. “My advice is to start small and take it slow. When we opened Gaia Coffee, we focused on delivering exceptional quality with limited offerings. Over time, we grew steadily, now operating six days a week and offering a diverse range of speciality coffees and food choices. Remember, it’s better to excel in a few things, rather than offer a multitude of products with compromised quality.”

Her final thoughts: “We continue to grow and evolve, guided by our community’s needs. Our dedication to providing a warm and welcoming space, paired with a delightful coffee experience, makes Gaia Giving CIC a unique and cherished part of the Torbay community.”


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