Shut down: Loss-making community cafe in Hartlepool brews its final cuppa

Kilmarnock Road Children and Young Persons Family Centre
Kilmarnock Road Children and Young Persons Family Centre

A COMMUNITY cafe has been closed six months after it was taken over as it was running at a loss.

The Kilmarnock Road Children and Young People Family Resource Centre, in Kilmarnock Road, ran a cafe from the site in the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool.

But due to low numbers of customers, bosses found that the cafe was no longer sustainable and was running at a loss.They monitored the situation for six months but yesterday, the decision was made to close the cafe.

Val Evens, one of the voluntary directors of the resource centre, said: “We’ve had to close the cafe due to economical reasons until further notice.

“All of the other services will remain the same.

“Basically the cafe wasn’t paying for itself, it was losing money and unfortunately we’re just not in a position to subsidise it.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, we’re very sad about it.”

The Kilmarnock Road Children and Young People Family Resource Centre was launched in October last year from the ashes of the scandal-hit Manor Residents’ Association.

It is now run by a voluntary consortium which includes The West View Project, along with the Belle Vue Community Sports and Youth Centre, West View Advice and Resource Centre, the Wharton Trust and Changing Futures North-East.

The new management team set a time frame of six months to see how each service would run, including the cafe.

But when it was only being used regularly by around half a dozen elderly people and several young mums, it was found to be unsustainable.

Val said: “We stepped in and took over the centre in October because we felt very passionate about not losing services in that area and we didn’t want residents to suffer.

“We do this all voluntary, we don’t take any salary or any costs. We’re doing it out of good will and hopefully one day we’ll get funding to get a manager to be up there full time to develop it properly.”

The centre will still provide its benefits and debt advice sessions, the job club, digital skills workshops, nursery, and children’s and senior youth clubs.

The former Manor Residents’ Association was closed after an investigation over the previous leadership’s administrative procedures surrounding payroll, payslips, end-of-year records and under and over payment of tax letters.

For more information about the centre call (01429) 868008.