Community urged to help keep Needham Market internet cafe ‘buzzing’

Martin Spurling with some of the customers at Needham Market Internet Cafe
Martin Spurling with some of the customers at Needham Market Internet Cafe

The director of Needham Market Internet cafe is appealing for people to help keep the venture ‘buzzing’ while its future location is decided.

Martin Spurling has appealed for volunteers including everyone from general helpers, builders and electricians to accountants to keep the ‘much-needed’ cafe thriving.

Mr Spurling took over the Internet Cafe last May and has since introduced a number of group activities attracting up to 20 people a day.

The future of the cafe is uncertain however as it is currently situated within the Needham Market Middle School complex on School Street, which is due to be redeveloped.

Mid Suffolk District Council, which owns the building, is looking to redevelop the site and is currently working with developers on early stage plans.

The Internet Cafe was originally founded in 2007 and is run as a community interest company, of which Mr Spurling is a director.

Since May, he has increased its opening hours from six to 60 each week and says the cafe is used daily by people of all ages, including schoolchildren, freelance workers and older people.”

“We are discussing options with the council but at the moment are on a three month rolling lease,” said Mr Spurling.

“Although the cafe is proving successful, we would appreciate people helping out to keep it buzzing while its future is decided.

“I would like to see people making the most of it while we wait to hear because the more people involved will help secure a better future for what is a vital community asset.”

Mr Spurling runs the Internet Cafe with his wife, Dawn, and three other volunteers.

It is now open seven days each week with dedicated group sessions for younger people, Silver Surfers, a dementia support group, a breakfast club, a lunch club, and Yap and Yarn, a group for women.

Future plans include a youth club.

“It’s really taken off over the summer and if interest drops off because we have to close for a certain period because of the redevelopment, it would be a sad loss,” added Mr Spurling, who is also a town councillor.

“We have a pool table, two large TVs, Xbox, Wii, three computers, six laptops and even a drop-in centre where people can now communicate with the district council in a private room.

“Its a community cafe but still very much internet-based with people using the wi-fi for phones and tablets and older people learning to carry out their business online.”

Anyone interested in helping out at the cafe should email: