GO4 Cafe on the Rec (based in the Recreation Ground of Old Heath in Colchester, Essex) was recently built to offer the community many benefits that you often take for granted. They offer in-house cooked food and drinks (hot, cold and iced), a clean toilet and free water to anyone who requests it. It is mainly run by volunteers and is a completely non-profit organisation. It is also pet-friendly, with dogs welcome and plenty of water out front for dogs to ’refresh’.
Unfortunately, over the last few months, it has been subject to multiple attempted break-ins and vandalism, despite there being nothing of any value held overnight. It merely appears to be kids, with nothing better to do, which is quite sad.
Two weeks or so ago, there was another series of attempted break-in and vandalism. Piter Arroyo, who is responsible for the running etc of the cafe, published a Facebook Live Video, pleading with residents and youth to cherish what we have and to not perform these acts of crime.
I initially went down to speak with him (Piter) the following morning with the intention of donating some external CCTV equipment as a way of helping out this organisation, but after speaking with Piter, we concluded that external cameras would just get vandalised or even stolen as the highest position they could be installed would be soffit level of a one-story building. We continued discussing and decided that an Intruder Alarm would hopefully act as a deterrent and also alert them by means of an App, should there be an intrusion. I was able to offer them this installation for free and we agreed to install this on Bank Holiday Monday the 7th May 2018. Initially, we had agreed to a 9:00am start, but with the only hot Bank Holiday in years forecast, we agreed for me to start at 6:00am to avoid the heat in the day whilst running cables through the loft areas.
The installation was completed by 1:00pm and it was delightful not only receiving high levels of praise by the visitors to the cafe but also witnessing many visitors requesting black bags to go around the park, picking up litter that others simply couldn’t be bothered to put in a bin.
Overall it was a proud day for me, not only being able to give back to my community but also seeing the community spirit and ‘everyone mucks in’ attitude shown.
The alarm features an illuminated external bell which warns any potential intruder that the system is protected by an alarm, then coupled with the app notifications, means that the team at GO4 Cafe can be warned of an intrusion, but also set the alarm remotely if they get home and realise they have forgotten to set it.