Elemore café and garden centre officially open
The community-run cafe and garden centre at Hetton's newly transformed Elemore Country Park has officially opened its doors to the public.
This official opening today (Thursday 1 June) saw members of the local community come together to celebrate the new development. The opening marks a significant step in the transformation of the 60-acre site into a heritage and eco park.
The new coffee shop and garden centre is being run by Bishopwearmouth Co-operative Community Interest Company which already runs the popular Bishopwearmouth Garden Centre and cafe in Chester Road in Sunderland city centre.
The new café employs 16 local people, including six adults with disabilities and all the profits the company generates are invested back into providing paid employment, education, training and work-based placements for adults with learning, physical and mental health needs.
The cafe will serve local produce and grow all of the plants it sells in peat free compost in recyclable pots and trays.
In keeping with the new country park's commitment to accessibility, there is also provision for supporting adults with learning disabilities, a Changing Places accessible toilet and a sensory room for adults and children.
Councillor Claire Rowntree, Hetton councillor and Deputy Council Leader of Sunderland City Council, chairs the Elemore Project Group. She said: "The official opening of the café and garden centre is another step forward in the transformation of Elemore into a fantastic eco park.
"Local residents are at the centre of the project and we have worked alongside them to deliver a community space that is inclusive and accessible and reflects the heritage of the area, while protecting the natural environment.
"There are still more exciting developments to come, with a play area being installed later this summer. Works to protect the wildlife in the lake have already been completed and over the summer additional signage and seating will be installed too."
With indoor seating and an outdoor patio area, the café serves cakes, pies, quiches and scones all freshly baked on site. People will also be able to buy snacks, main meals, vegetarian and vegan options as well as takeaway picnic lunch boxes.
Opening times for the garden centre and coffee shop:
Monday to Saturday 9am to 4.30pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm
Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 4pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm
To keep up to date with all the latest developments at Elemore visit: www.elemorepark.co.uk