Charity launches community cafe

The Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher (sitting centre right) raises a glass at the opening of the Creative Cafe, as invited guests look on.
The Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher (sitting centre right) raises a glass at the opening of the Creative Cafe, as invited guests look on.

AN organisation that helps people with mental health issues on to the road to recovery has celebrated the launch of a cafe.

The Creative Cafe in Hartlepool town centre is the new hub for services provided by Choices for Life.

It offers people who have been referred with mental health problems the chance to work as volunteers, to help them learn new skills, boost confidence and gain recognsied qualifications.

The cafe will also be the centre for a number of activities that will be provided to the wider community.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s ceremonial mayor, Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, gave the project his blessing when he attended the cafe’s official launch.

He said: “It is needed and is in a primary location and I hope that they achieve what they set out to achieve.”

Choices for Life has been up and running in Hartlepool for 18 months and was previously run out of Grange Road Methodist Church.

It is run by the umbrella not for profit provider mental health support service Creative Support.

Choices for Life development worker Maureen Hanley said the cafe within the Gemini Centre, in Villiers Street, is a big step forward as it has dedicated session rooms, space for one to one support and office.

A Veterans’ Day lunch will run every Wednesday and include a discounted home cooked lunch.

It also runs a Story and Snack Club for pre-school children. Tomorrow it will hold a fun arts activities and circus skills with a free slice of cake when customers buy a tea or coffee.

All the food served at the cafe, open Monday to Friday, is home made and locally sourced where possible.