Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tea Rooms re-open

THE train leaving Saltburn's Valley Gardens at 9.40am on Tuesday, June 17 took passengers to the official opening of the Tea Rooms. The Council's Mayor, Councillor Mike Findley, led guests from the steam train, run by the Saltburn Miniature Railway Society, to the refurbished facility, which will also provide a unique training scheme. Under the watchful eye of catering supervisor Joyce Hitchen, the tea rooms will be staffed by people currently attending Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council's Learning Disability Day Service. This voluntary work will not only provide them with additional training but also enable them to be supported into paid employment in the catering field in future.The Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Social Well Being Councillor Helen McLuckie said: "This is a tremendous opportunity to enable people with a disability to consolidate the skills they have acquired working in Upsall Hall farm kitchen and to move into paid employment. We anticipate that the catering service in the tea rooms could be developed as a small social enterprise and is part of the Council's plans to develop more paid work opportunities for people with disabilities across the Borough."
The cafe has undergone a real facelift, with a joint £100,000 investment by the Council and the regional development agency, One NorthEast that provides modern catering facilities, a completely refurbished cafe area and a new extension with an accessible toilet. Now, for the first time, thanks to the building being fully insulated, the Tea Rooms can offer year-round opening. The plan is to open the cafe weekdays from 10am-3pm, offering teas, coffees, scones and cakes, plus ice cream, with an aim to be open Saturdays by July and seven days a week later in the year. Council Leader Councillor George Dunning, also the Cabinet Member for Rural Affairs, said: "We are delighted with the completed Tea Rooms and I'm sure it's going to make a visit to the Valley Gardens an even more enjoyable experience."

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