The first Starbucks coffee shop in Hartlepool has been unveiled and pledged its support to a town charity.
The new drive-thru in Green Street was officially opened by members of Families First North East whose work the branch has chosen to support.
It has been built from scratch in four months on the site of the former Hartlepool Snooker Club which was demolished after a fire in 2014.
Fourteen people are employed in the coffee shop.
Manager Chris Nash said: “This is the first one in Hartlepool and it’s extremely exciting to bring such a popular and well-known brand to the town.
“We have recruited local people and we are getting involved with charity as well.”
Starbucks staff will join Families First North East, based in York Road, Hartlepool, on fundraising days, holding events in store and raising as much awareness as possible.
Chris added: “I looked around for local charities to support and the family side of Families First appealed to me.
“It is a charity close to my heart.”
Paul Thompson, manager of Families First North East said Starbucks’ support will provide a great advantage to their work in supporting disabled and disadvantaged young people.
“I think it will be a really good boost having a multi-national brand supporting a small charity in Hartlepool,” he said.
“Funds they will raise during the year will have a significant impact on an organisation like ours.”
Paul said he hopes it will encourage other big brands to support Families First which runs numerous projects for children and young adults with additional needs.
It is also branching out to support older adults with social and mental wellbeing and improving health across the wider North East.
Paul added: “While a whole lot of organisations are struggling we are growing.
“It is amazing to see it flourish.”
A second outlet is planned to open in town on a date yet to be announced.
Hartlepool Borough Council granted planning permission for an outlet at the Tees Bay Retail Park in Brenda Road.