Kate Ryder - Owner of Café Alf Resco
Kate Ryder - Owner of Café Alf Resco
Dartmouth Connections: Kate Ryder - Owner of Café Alf Resco
How long have you been associated with Dartmouth?
I have lived here for 16 years and we’ve run the Café for 11 years. I had an uncle living in the town, which first drew me here. For the first 5 years, I used to commute to Winchester where I was a Marketing & Communications Manager for Siemens. We spent that time doing up our house. A neighbour had started the Café and after three years we took it over. Since then, we’ve worked hard to establish Alf Resco as a local institution and I’m proud that it’s become popular with both local residents and visitors. It’s been such fun and so rewarding, that I was keen to give something back to Dartmouth so 11 months ago I got myself elected to the Town Council.
What is it about Dartmouth that makes it special for you?
As a resident, I like the fact that we can live in the town and not have to use a car – that’s unusual nowadays. I like being able to walk to work, although the 98 steps back up the hill are a little tough after a late night! I am also able to do most of my shopping locally. The views are obviously great – we’re very lucky. We’ve also raised a young family here and it’s a very family-friendly area.
What’s been the secret to Café Alf Resco’s success?
It’s down to having a great staff (almost all are local) and being consistent in our offering to customers. We are open from 7am all year round and we’ve become a regular meeting place for locals and many businesses. We’ve become a great place to celebrate birthdays, weddings etc. Our menu has hardly changed over the years and we are passionate about sourcing local produce. We’ve always got involved in local events and we are often sponsoring all sorts of activities and organisations in the town.
Why did you become a Town councillor?
As I have said, I want to give something back. Also, it’s easy to moan about the direction a town may be taking but sometimes you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and help out and hopefully change things for the better. I also felt that perhaps the Town Council wasn’t fully reflecting the current local demographic.
What’s your current focus as a councillor?
I’m on the Transport & Parking Committee where we are grappling with the thorny old problem of a parking solution that satisfies the needs of residents, businesses and visitors alike. In the past, there have often been conflicting views but I sense now that all the stakeholders realise that we have to put on a united front. I’ve learned that any solution has to work within the constraints set by the SHDC or progress will not be made. The TIC, Chamber of Trade, MCTI and the Town Council are now keen to force a way forward in tandem and I believe a good solution will eventually emerge. We are all committing much time and energy to this and I am impatient and determined to see this reach a successful conclusion. I am surrendering much
I am also personally keen to see if we can find a solution for a publicly accessible swimming pool to attract all ages It’s not fair to the town’s residents to have to travel so far to use a public pool. I know this has been going on for 30 years but maybe another push might see a
I am encouraged that many local residents are keen to solve these sorts of problems. All towns are changing and responding to new needs and so must Dartmouth. But I also think we need to encourage younger people in the town to step forward.
Any energy left over for leisure time?
As a family, we love camping on Dartmoor. I am a long distance cyclist and next month set off with two girl friends to cycle 600 miles in Norway, hopefully reaching the Artic Circle, at Tromsoo, by June 22nd for the shortest night. Last year, we cycled around the Bay of Biscay and previously we’ve cycled from the top of Italy to Budapest.
For more information: www.cafealfresco.co.uk
First published May 2008, By The Dart