North East Connected

Cestria donation boosts café society

Customers will be sitting pretty when they pop in to a community café in County Durham, thanks to a local housing association.

For Chester-le-Street based Cestria Community Housing has donated nearly £4,000 worth of tables and chairs to the community project at Nettlesworth, which was set up to alleviate social problems in the area.

The furniture – over a dozen tables and more than two dozen chairs, including wheelchair accessible furniture – came from a former communal room near Chester-le- Street town centre.

Cestria Community Involvement officer, Paul Hadden, said: “The furniture had hardly been used and, to all intents and purposes, was new, so we approached the café which was delighted to take it.

“Nettlesworth community café is a fantastic project – as well as providing inexpensive, healthy food, it’s also a vital meeting place for local people, particularly the elderly, and we were delighted to be able to support it in this practical way.”

Cestria also donated £1,000 to the community project to enable it to run a free, daily meals service for local school age children during the summer holidays.

Launched two years ago by a volunteer-run community task force representing the former pit villages of Nettlesworth and nearby Kimblesworth, the café is based in the local community centre.

It is normally open just two days a week and is home to the Little Stars carers’ and toddler’s group, as well as being a distribution point for Durham Foodbank , issuing up to five boxes of emergency supplies a week to families in need.

The café is run by a chef and a team of volunteers and has already built up a good reputation for the quality of its food, offering a freshly cooked lunch special that can be delivered to housebound elderly residents.

Task force chairman, John Barclay, said that since opening, the cafe had helped create a sense of community in the two villages.

He added: “We provide many elderly residents with their main meal of the day and while we’ve been running the summer meals scheme our older customers have loved the fact that the café has been open every day.

“The café is a really valuable service and we’re very grateful for Cestria’s support, both for the donation and for the furniture – that’s been wonderful, and is highly appreciated.”

The café is open on Monday and Thursday, 9.30am to 5pm. Anyone interested in supporting the project should email

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