• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

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The Coach-ing House

A COMMUNITY CAFÉ IN BARNES PARK is providing training and employment opportunities for disabled members of the community.

Sunderland City Council’s West Area Committee is working in partnership with Sunderland Care and Support to refurbish the Coach House.

Grants from the area committee through the local ward councillors, investment from Sunderland Care and Support and with support from the Friends of Barnes Park voluntary group have helped with the refurbishment and environmental improvements to the building and facilities

Sunderland Care and Support operate two local ‘Coffeestop’ community cafés including the café in the Coach House in Barnes Park, coffeestop@thecoachhouse, employing 40 local disabled people here and its other internal catering outlets.

The refurbishment has improved the internal and external seating areas, and added to the amenities offered to customers including a new ice cream parlour. The café remained open while the work continued, and is now fully back to business with longer opening hours throughout the day and at weekends.

Coffeestop cafes employ people with disabilities and provide opportunities of paid employment within the local community.

Barnes ward councillor and chair of the Friends of Barnes Park, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson said: “Barnes Park is an important part of our community, and the Coach House, coffeestop@thecoachhouse, is an important part of the park.

“I and my fellow ward councillors, Councillor Ian Galbraith and Cllr Michael Essl, were delighted to be able to help fund the refurbishment of the community café to make it even more attractive to customers, and invest in its future and the future of all those working there.

“One of the roles of the West and all Area Committees is to help create more training and employment opportunities for local people and working with Sunderland Care and Support we are hopefully helping to do just that with the Coach House cafe coffeestop@thecoachhouse.”    

Philip Foster Chief Operating Officer of 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.”

Training and volunteering opportunities for people working at the Coffestop cafes includes;

  • customer service,
  • catering, and food hygiene,
  • budgeting and managing finance
  • Self- confidence and personal skills

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 café clean and tidy for customers.”

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

By Emily