Ice cream parlour opens at Sunderland park cafe

A community cafe in Sunderland is serving up training and employment for people with special needs.

Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 10:24 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:55 am
Pictured are the re-furbished Coach House Cafe in Barnes Park, Sunderland are l-r Stephen Robson, Councillor Peter Gibson ward councillor and chair of the West Area Committee, Allison Miller assistant cook, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson ward councillor and chair of Friends of Barnes Park, Willam Peverley, Gill Lawson Sunderland Care and Support Senior Operations Manager and Phillip Nichols.

The former Coach House, in Barnes Park, has undergone a huge refurbishment and is now offering even better cafe facilities, including an ice cream parlour.

Grants from the West Area Committee through the local ward councillors, investment from Sunderland Care and Support and support from the Friends of Barnes Park voluntary group have helped with the refurbishment and environmental improvements.

Sunderland councillor Rebecca Atkinson is served afternoon tea by supported worker Philip Nichols in the refurbished coach house cafe, Barnes Park, Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

Coun Peter Gibson, Coun Rebecca Atkinson, and Sunderland Care and Support Senior Operations Manager, Gill Lawson, popped in for a cuppa and a chat with staff including assistant cook Allison Miller and trainees Stephen Robson, William Peverley and Philip Nichols.

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Sunderland Care and Support operate two local ‘Coffeestop’ community cafes and employs 40 people.

The refurbishment has improved the internal and external seating areas and added to the amenities offered, including the ice cream parlour.

Mary Sanders, 62, who works at the Coach House cafe, in Barnes Park, said: “The new tables and chairs are very nice, I like to make the cafe clean and tidy for customers.”

Sunderland councillor Rebecca Atkinson is served afternoon tea by supported worker Philip Nichols in the refurbished coach house cafe, Barnes Park, Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

Her workmate, Carol Mullen, 52, added: “I enjoy working with all the staff at the Coach House.”

Barnes ward councillor and chairman of the Friends of Barnes Park, Coun Atkinson said: “Barnes Park is an important part of our community, and the Coach House is an important part of the park.”

Philip Foster, Sunderland Care and Support, said: “Our Coffeestop cafes provide employment to people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or mental health needs.

“This helps to reduce inequalities for disabled adults within Sunderland through promoting social inclusion, independence, equality and involvement in local communities.”