New Sunderland cafe Social Kitchen aims to offer both healthy food and brighter futures

A new cafe is aiming to give young people a brighter future while serving up healthy meals and offering a range of other services.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 11:50 am

Back on the Map worked with fellow Hendon-grown organisation Sunderland Home Care Associates (SHCA) to turn an empty shop in Villette Road into a community café and training space, dubbed Social Kitchen.

The partners say the project will work to counter food poverty by providing access to affordable fresh produce and healthy meals, as well as providing training placements for young people with learning disabilities.

Julie Gray, chairwoman of Back on the Map , said the project has been helped with investment from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has helped to bring together the project.

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(L-R) Joanne Cooper, deputy CEO, Back on the Map; Joan Hutchinson, CEO, Sunderland Home Care Associates; Lilian Shevlin, cafe manager, Sunderland Home Care Associates; Cllr Graham Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, at the new Social Kitchen cafe.

She said Social Kitchen will provide access to fresh fruit, vegetables and other local produce, senior school tea time clubs with internet access, training opportunities and access to healthy meals, among other activities and services.

The cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating, and a toy area for children.

Julie said: “We are grateful to North East Local Enterprise Partnerships for supporting this unique collaboration between two ‘Hendon-born’ social enterprises.

"The community café will be so much more than a place to meet, eat and drink. It will provide a social space for local people to learn, develop and grow while also becoming a valuable asset on our high street for the Hendon community to enjoy.”

Helen Golightly OBE, chief Executive at the North East LEP, said: "The new community cafe will be a valuable resource in Hendon, promoting healthy eating and showing how social enterprise-led projects play a valuable role in their communities by bringing residents together. This project will also support people to gain new skills to access employment opportunities."

The cafe was officially opened by Sunderland City Council leader, Cllr Graham Miller, on Monday, October 18.

Joan Hutchinson, chief executive officer at Sunderland Home Care Associates, said: “Sunderland Home Care Associates are very happy to be working with Back on the Map to open the new community café in Hendon.

"Our roots are steeped in Hendon so we are grateful for the opportunity to give back to the local community. As a Social Enterprise and Employee Owned Company Social Value is something very close to our hearts.”

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