An Irvine cafe is helping raise funds for good causes after a nursing team lost one of their own to suicide.

GRO Coffee is giving away hot drinks in return for donations every evening after the nurses contacted the business.

Gordon Rennie, owner of GRO, said: “In these difficult times we are watching people face unprecedented mental health challenges.

“I have decided that we will not charge for hot drinks every evening and simply ask that you donate the money or whatever you can afford, and hopefully it’s a great reason to take a friend or a neighbour or a colleague for a walk along a starry skyed gorgeous beach or have a chat on a harbour bench and listen to the waves. Let’s talk, let’s be there for each other.”

Irvine Times: credit: @eirinnelizabethcredit: @eirinnelizabeth

Until Sunday, October 26, when the current restrictions are due to be lifted, every evening from 6pm all coffees, hot chocolates and teas will be free.

All the business is asking for is that customers make a donation on the bar.

All the money raised will be donated to mental health charities and all costs will be covered by GRO.

Last week, nursing staff who had tragically lost a colleague to suicide asked the business if it could make a donation.

Gordon told the Times: “It brought home that there are people from all walks of life, people you would never have thought, that are feeling the darkness that is overtaking the country.”

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He knew that he was going to do something over the next two weeks to give something back, especially given how challenging lockdown has been.

Gordon prides himself on the business having an ethical mission. During GRO’s first Christmas, he gave away all the takings to charity.

But with the cafe getting busier and busier it has been more difficult to organise fundraisers, so he saw the temporary lockdown as an opportunity.

Last week, Gordon announced the expansion of the business to the former Frankie and Benny’s site in Ayr.

He also has his eyes set on a location in Glasgow as well as keeping on the lookout for premises in Ayrshire to set-up a central bakery capable of supplying all three locations.

He said: “We’ve been open five years, we haven’t been rapid, we’re still careful, still learning and always looking to improve the product.”

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