A disused area of a Sutton school has been transformed into a community café and ‘jobclub’ that will help local unemployed people take steps to getting back into work.
The ATTIC café has opened up in part of Sutton Community Academy that was formerly used as a youth club and has been known as The Bunker.
Thanks to funding from Natwest bank and the vision of bosses at the Academy, what is hoped will become a valuable community facility has now been created.
Students studying catering and enterprise at the school will run the café - including baking delicious cakes for sale - while members of the public can drop in and use ATTIC’s computers to surf the internet to look for job vacancies and learn new skills such as how to put a CV together.
The café was officially opened on Thursday when staff, students and key supporters were invited to look round and taste the homemade cakes on offer.
Academy Principal Simon Martin said: “Being here and opening this facility like this really re-enforces that we are, as the academy for the town, a major stakeholder in the community.
“We are committed to the development of the community and making our facilities, in the right way, available to the community.”
Mr Martin added that creating a facility such as this will help with a very important mission for Sutton, that of helping people to access new skills, training and information to help get them back into work.
The café was named by Mary Rutter, former assistant head at Sutton Community College and now a governor of the academy, who took the first letters from the academy’s sponsors, the Academy Transformation Trust (ATT), and combined these with one of its core values of being ‘In [the] Community’ to get ATTIC.
Natwest, one of the academy’s strategic partners, provided nearly £5,000 of funding - plus the time and enthusiasm of its employees - to give the vacant rooms a much-needed makeover.
They were ably assisted by students in the decorating and designing of the café.
Liz Barrett, from the Academy, said that the students will gain valuable retail experience, practical skills and customer service skills by running the café along with volunteers from the community.
She said: “It’s really exciting. It feels as though we are able to reach further into the community and serve the community we are part of.”
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero also attended the ATTIC’s launch and said it will be a ‘valuable resource’ for the Sutton community.
“It’s got absolutely everything going for it – it serves lovely, affordable food right in the heart of the local community and on top of that it provides learners and students with practical skills which will stand them in good stead in the future. The work club and computers at the café will also be an incredibly valuable resource for jobseekers too,” she said.
“It’s a terrific initiative and a great community asset and it shows just what can be achieved when everyone pulls together to improve the area we live in.”