A NEW café is proving to be a community’s cup of tea as a school opens its doors to the public.

St John’s School and Sixth Form College, Bishop Auckland, secured funding from Durham County Council’s Area Action Partnership to set up the new facility.

Hospitality and catering students are now growing their own food, preparing it and serving it up to the public at the community café.

Learning Resource Centre manager Linzi Heads said: “It’s great to be able to give something back to the community. It is also a brilliant way for our students to develop a raft of skills including food production and front of house, as well as boosting their confidence, self-esteem and team building abilities.

“The idea is that students will grow fresh produce in the garden and this will help them to learn about healthy foods, sustainability and where ingredients come from. Once ripe and ready to be harvested, the vegetables are picked and used as ingredients in soups and other tasty recipes to be served in the Community Café.

“The cafe will give students the opportunity to gain life and employability skills, as well as helping them towards their catering qualifications and encouraging teamwork.”

Year 7 student George Best said: “I have really enjoyed serving in the café and the customers were all very nice.”

Café-goer Rachel McAloon added: “I think it’s a brilliant idea and a lovely way of bringing the community into school, fostering links between the students and other generations.”