A community cafe in Barnes Park, which is providing vital training and employment opportunities for disabled people in the city, has been given a facelift.

Grants from Sunderland City Council’s West Area Committee, together with support from Sunderland Care and Support and the Friends of Barnes Park voluntary group, have helped fund refurbishment and environmental improvements to the Coach House cafe.

As well as new seating areas both inside and outside the cafe, the refurbishment has added a new ice cream parlour.

Barnes ward councillor and chair of the Friends of Barnes Park, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson said both the park and the cafe, which provides local paid employment to people with disabilities, are in important part of the community.

She said: “One of the roles of the West and all Area Committees, is to help create more training and employment opportunities for local people and working with Sunderland Care and Support, we are hopefully helping to do just that with the Coach House cafe coffeestop@thecoachhouse.”

Philip Foster, Chief Operating Officer of Sunderland Care and Support, added: “Our Coffeestop cafes provide employment to people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or mental health needs. This helps to reduce inequalities for disabled adults within Sunderland through promoting social inclusion, independence, equality and involvement in local communities.”