A FORMER pub on the Arbourthorne estate is back at the centre of the local community – but in a very different guise.
The old Felbrigg pub is enjoying a new lease of life as the Tea Junction café, offering good, value-for-money food and drink as part of the Beacon Church and Community Centre.
The café, which opened earlier this year, was the idea of Tina Hodges, a cleric, mother of three and wife of local vicar Jasper.
Formerly a nurse, she was concerned that poor health in the area could be down to poor diet. She was also aware of the need for a local meeting place – and was determined to do something about it.
“Making ends meet on a low income, or on benefits, is a real stretch,” she says. “There are few community spaces in our area and even fewer places to get a ‘proper’ coffee, or where you can sit down and digest your food properly.”
Community members joined forces to set up the Tea Junction, which sells everything from home-made cakes and snacks to full meals – as well as good coffee.
It is run by local staff, with the help of volunteers. Low prices make it difficult to cover costs but they plan to subsidise the service by offering outside catering too.
Food is locally sourced: fruit and veg are from Castle Market, bread and scones from Wincobank, ethical coffee from Pollards and milk and free-range eggs from Eckington.
“I love the variety of people who come through our doors,” says Tina. “From mums and toddlers who love our play corner to professionals using the wi-fi; and teens or families who want an early dinner – with no washing up!”
Tea Junction is open 9am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday; pre-ordering and take-away service available all day.