Tilbury organization expands to offer more programming

Ashley's Place opened a cafe Oct. 4. (photo courtesy of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

Ashley’s Place has added a new chapter to their five-year-old business.

The social enterprise company opened a cafe on Oct. 4 to expand their programming options.

The Tilbury business started as a way to honour owner and creator’s Kim Doucet’s daughter, who died suddenly in 2013 after a car accident.

“Ashley was passionate about people and brought an energy and compassion that was contagious,” said Doucet. “She was so full of ideas and encouraged positive experiences from everyone she met.”

The cafe currently serves lunch, but hopes to expand to serve breakfast soon as well. As a not-for-profit organization, proceeds from the cafe will help Ashley’s Place programming and activities. The company visits different organizations in Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex, bringing clothing and toiletries to homeless shelters and new mother groups.

“If there’s something specific we need we’ll start a fundraiser,” said Doucet.

Doucet said they are pleased with the options in their Tilbury space.

“There is space to offer temporary shelter or a safe warm place if someone is in an emergency situation,” said Doucet. “We’re not ready for that yet, but there’s space here when we are ready.”

Ashley’s Place has also been approached by Victim Services, to use the space for counselling sessions. It also plans to house group meetings for bullying and mental health help.

“This is an opportunity for us to be brave and try something that people have been asking us to provide,” said Doucet. “It will put us in a very different category with funds that I am confident will create many new, exciting, and beneficial programs and activities for our community.”