A CHARITY café has been given a five-star rating.
The People’s café, based in the Central Library, Prince Georg Square, South Shields, was given the top rating by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The eaterie, which is run by a team of volunteers from the charity Tyneside Mind, aims to offer a friendly environment in which to enjoy healthy food.
The FSA rating indicates that The People’s Café has very good hygiene standards, which volunteers achieved by demonstrating how they meet food safety and hygiene regulations, and what they do to sell food which is safe to eat.
The 12 volunteers who work at the café each had to achieve Food Hygiene level two.
One volunteer, Chris Frazer, 42, from Marsden, South Shields, said: “I was unemployed for over three years, and I used support services.
“I really wanted to give something back and get involved.
“I liked the fact that that proceeds from the café support the local community.
“I felt accepted within the team from the very start which supported me back into work. Through volunteering at The People’s Café I have found my confidence again, I’m not on my own and people are warm and friendly.”
As part of its service, the café provides support to people suffering from mental health issues, offering wellbeing projects that have been developed to encourage recovery and improve mental health.
Clients also have access to services at Tyneside Mind, and are provided with information to help them pursue training, employment, learning and volunteering.
The café serves food from 10.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday
Live cookery demonstrations are held every Tuesday at 12.30pm, with information about how to cook healthy, low-cost and nutritious meals.
A health trainers clinic is also held on Wednesdays, between 10.30am and 1pm, to help people to stop smoking, improve diets, stress, drink habits and build confidence.