Tea and talk on the menu as Parkfield Lighthouse finalises coffee shop kitchen update

July 19, 2017 | Bowesfield News

Chris Kelsey of The Banks Group (left) with Alex Paterson of The Parkfield Lighthouse

A long-standing Teesside mental health charity is inviting everyone in for a cuppa and a chat after winning a four-figure grant from a regional employer to upgrade its coffee shop kitchen facilities.

The Parkfield Lighthouse is the only free, self-referral, out of hours, open access support and information service for adults with emotional distress and mental health problems in the Stockton area.

Located on Yarm Road in the town, the charity’s drop-in centre provides a community hub where people both meet for an informal coffee or lunchbreak, and find someone to talk to if they’re looking for support.

The drop-in centre has been running for over 20 years, and its kitchen facilities, which also provide food for the adjoining day nursery, have been in increasingly urgent need of an upgrade to meet the requirements of modern operating regulations.

The charity didn’t have the funds available to cover the cost of the required upgrade, but now, thanks to a £5,500 donation made by the Banks Group from its Banks Community Fund, it has now been able to progress the project, with a new stainless steel wall benches and shelves, a new upright freezer, a new under counter fridge and new oven all being installed.

Installation work is set to be completed by early August, and the Lighthouse team is hoping that the improved facilities will bring more people into its cafe, which will in turn allow it to generate more revenues to support its work.

Alex Paterson, centre manager at the Parkfield Lighthouse, says: “We offer a relaxed atmosphere which encourages people who are looking for support around a specific issue, or who simply want to have a chat to someone, to come in and talk to our staff and volunteers

“We’re also already well supported by people living and working in the area, many of whom choose to spend their lunch breaks here, and we often get donations of ‘suspended’ meals or coffees from customers that we can then make available to people that need them.

“We’ve long wanted to upgrade our kitchen facilities, and knew that the need to do so was getting increasingly urgent if we wanted to stay in line with catering regulations, but with our budgets focused primarily on offering our support services, we simply didn’t have the capital available to get things done.

“The Banks Group’s generous donation will make things so much easier for our staff, which will in turn mean we get more time to focus on our customers and clients, and we hope to see even more people popping in for a cuppa and a chat in the future.”

Chris Kelsey, communications manager at the Banks Group, adds: “The Parkfield Lighthouse provides an invaluable service for people across Teesside, as well as a great place to spend a relaxing coffee or lunchbreak, and we’re very pleased to be helping them progress a project that they’ve long wanted to take on.”

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects.

Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.

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