“I discovered Rainbow House more than twenty years ago, when my first son was little and I was looking for a place to meet friends who were living on the opposite side of Oxford” relates Katherine, the coordinator of Rainbow House. And in fact, this great café is just behind Cornmarket street, where you have to change buses when you want to go from one side of the town to the other.
Based in the Church Hall of Wesley Memorial Church, supported but not run by the church, Rainbow House opens three days a week to welcome Under 5’s with their parents or carers. The friendly atmosphere, home-made food for reasonable prices, and a large space for children to play add up to a relaxing site in central Oxford.
“I like having lunch with my children here” highlights Rebecca who regularly meets friends there. “Once the children are fed they can play and you can have lunch, maybe also a coffee, and at the same time you chat with other mums!” Another strength of Rainbow House, is that you feel at home without having to clear up tables afterwards! “But we kindly ask you to bring the dishes and cutlery in the boxes provided after your lunch” asks Katherine who is also in charge of the team of volunteers. Generally four volunteers, two in the kitchen and two at the buffet, help her to keep Rainbow House running!
For whom? All children under 5 years old with their parents, family or carers.
Where? At the Wesley Memorial Church Hall (entrance at the right side of the church). There is also the possibility to leave your bike. New Inn Hall Street , Ox1 2DH.
Opening times? Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10.30am to 2.00pm (term time only!). Last order has to be given at 1.15pm -but if you are starving and arrive merely at 1.25pm the team might still prepare you a hot meal –in the worst of all worlds you will at least get some biscuits or fruits… 😉
What for? Stay and play, have lunch or just a drink. The team prepares home-made pizza, bread, soup, jacket potatoes and salads. Some volunteers prepare some delicious cakes. At the end of the session (around 1.30pm) Katherine leads a singing time.
Best time to go? There is no specific advice for that, just be aware that it might be quite busy. For safety reasons no more than 15 pushchairs are accepted inside and if this limit is reached a display encourages you to wait or to come back later!
What about Babies? Small children are more than welcome. You will find toys, baby rocker, books… –they all share in the old charm, but are fully functional. Changing facilities are provided with changing mattresses and some potties for the older ones. For lunch there are some highchairs and you can take baby’s own food, or buy some there.
Please note! Rainbow House’s team asks you not to bring your own food – this is only allowed for babies. Rainbow House is a non-profit organisation, the money raised with the food covers the salary of the coordinator, the room hire and the food.
Keep in mind! Rainbow House is always delighted to hear of you, if you are interested in volunteering.
Keep in touch! Rainbow House is on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/RainbowHouseOxford
What about the Rainbow? That is the magical side of the place. When the sun is shining through the large windows, you might be able to discover a nice “indoor” Rainbow. Go there to discover how that can be possible…