Visitors to a Sunderland community garden can now enjoy the great outdoors.
Miss Tina’s coffee shop in Southwick has officially opened its new look outside area - thanks to help from a number of groups.
Tina Hogben, who launched the community cafe, carried out a huge fundraising drive to raise the £10,000 needed to create the outdoor garden at the cafe, which is in the former library at Southwick.
Tina said: “We are so happy with the new garden at Miss Tina’s Sunderland.
“The whole team has worked hard to raise funds and get the garden up and running and we are extremely pleased with how it’s turned out.
“Outdoor play is an important part of a child’s playtime and we can now offer an outdoor space to the families that use our facilities.
The whole team has worked hard to raise funds and get the garden up and runningTina Hogben
“The enclosed play area is a safe space for the children to explore and play whilst the parents/carers can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee while keeping a close eye on them. We are hoping to add a large nature trail to our outdoor space early next year which will be an amazing addition for us and the area.”
Miss Tina’s Coffee Shop was set up in Southwick to give mums a child friendly place where they can relax with a cuppa and feel free to breastfeed their babies without any judgement.
The not-for-profit business was launched by Tina, with the first coffee shop opening in Washington four years ago, followed by the Southwick one.
Tina, who is mum to Kyle, six, and five-year-old, Ethan, said the outdoor space was in a terrble state and a lot of work needed to be done to get it up to standard.
The former teacher said she wanted to thank everyone who has helped create the space, including Tesco Bags of Help, which gave £5,000 to start the work, Cultural Spring which donated £1,000, Jewsons which donated equipment, Ikea which provided outdoor furniture and all the loyal customers who continued to support the project.
Ikea store manager, Robin Melville, said: “At Ikea we are passionate about life at home and one of our long term priorities focuses on living with children, so we are delighted to be part of the contribution Miss Tina’s coffee shop has made to family life in the local community.”
The idea for the community parent-friendly coffee shop came to Tina when her own two children were small and she felt places were just not geared up for mums.
She said: “We are not a play group, it is all about the adults. Giving parents somewhere to come to relax and have something to eat and drink without being on edge all the time.
“They don’t have to worry about breastfeeding, or feel embarrassed if their child starts screaming, making a noise or drops a plate.”