Mental health charity ‘honoured’ after Northampton café raised £164 through ‘unique’ fundraising event

The Matchbox Café asked customers to order whatever they wanted from their menu and, in return, donate any amount to their chosen charity, The Lowdown

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:20 pm

A small café in Northampton town centre raised £164 for a local mental health charity by hosting a ‘pay what you feel’ event on their opening day earlier this week.

The Matchbox Café, on Abington Street, hosted the ‘pay what you feel day on Tuesday, May 18. Customers ordered whatever they wanted from their menu before making a donation of any amount to the cafe’s chosen charity, The Lowdown.

Owner of the Matchbox Café, Bing Wan came up with the fundraising idea last week and told the Chronicle & Echo that this is the “craziest idea” he has ever tried. Thankfully, the day was a success! He said: “The ‘pay what you feel’ concept was one of those ideas that could have gone either way.

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Owner of the Matchbox Cafe, Bing Wan, with his employee, Yasmin.
Owner of the Matchbox Cafe, Bing Wan, with his employee, Yasmin.

“Luckily for us, most people were happy to pay what they usually would have, if not more.

“The publicity helped us as an independent business as we met new people who had heard of us through BBC Radio Northampton or The Chronicle & Echo.

“It was great to be back, doing good and feeling good as a result. We thank all our regular and new customers for supporting this endeavour and hope to see them all again in the near future.”

The Matchbox Café raised a total of £164 by the end of the day but, with contributions continuing to come in from customers old and new, donations will be left open until the end of this week.

Bing Wan opening up The Matchbox Cafe for their 'pay what you feel' day.

Their chosen charity, The Lowdown, offers free counselling, emotional wellbeing, sexual health and LGBTQ support services for 11-25-year-olds.

The café raised money for the charity last year through the sale of raffle tickets. Bing told this newspaper that his employee had received support from them in the past, which is why they thought it would be “nice” to support them again.

Fundraising and marketing manager for The Lowdown, Ellie White, said: “We are delighted and honoured to be the chosen charity for this unique fundraising event hosted by Matchbox Café.

“It’s been a challenging time for businesses, so for a café to think of others and donate profits from their first day fully open in over five months is amazing and very thoughtful.”

The Lowdown claims that the need for their services increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic and they provided 6,818 counselling sessions for 11-25 year-olds from April 2020 to March 2021. This amounts to an increase of 31 percent with figures expected to rise further this year as a result of the pandemic.

Ms White continued: “The money raised will go directly to supporting young people in Northampton and the surrounding areas with issues such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties and self-harm.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to Bing Wan and Yasmin for donating their profits and to all their generous customers for supporting a local business and the lowdown’s vital services.”

To find out more about the mental health services The Lowdown provides for young people in Northampton, visit their website at https://thelowdown.info/.