IT was set up four years ago to provide a vital lifeline for children in Kenya.

Every sip of tea or coffee at Asante charity coffee shop in Chandler’s Ford helped fund a school for 300 children and accommodation for 25 orphans.

But the venture turned sour when Costa opened a branch across the road, causing trade to drop by 40 per cent. Now the once thriving shop has been forced off the high street.

Owners Shirley and Paul Barter were unable to commit to another five-year lease on their premises not knowing how they would fare against the chain, which had moved into the area a few months before.

Shirley said: “We were going to see how it went and we had a ten-year contract with a break after five years. If it was going really well we would have continued.

“We just couldn’t afford to sign up to another five years not knowing how we would do. Our customers are very upset because a Costa has come in and they’ve lost their independent coffee shop.”

They will turn off the coffee machines for the final time on Saturday but Shirley has invited supporters and regulars back for a thank you event from 4pm to 8pm on Sunday.

A Costa spokesman said: “We’re sorry to hear that Asante have closed their shop, however as we have seen in other locations around the country our offering can complement that of independent coffee shops, bringing vibrancy to UK high streets.

“We feel that we have brought benefits to the Chandler’s Ford area, having brought ten new jobs to the local area back in May.”

It comes after Asante saw trade cut by more than a third when Waitrose began offering free tea and coffee to storecard members nearly two years ago, as previously reported by the Daily Echo.

The business survived and was able to expand to open another branch in Romsey in May, which will stay open.

Shirley said they are continuing to fund their projects in Kenya using funds from the Romsey shop and they are calling for extra support from individuals and businesses in Hampshire.

She has written a book about the coffee shop, The Story of Asante, which will be sold at their Romsey branch to raise additional funds.

• For more information about the charity visit