Expansion bid for garden cafe could boost skills too

thisisoxfordshire: Regular visitor Megan Williams at the Barracks Lane Garden which is hoping to expand the cafe and have it run more regularly Buy this photo » Regular visitor Megan Williams at the Barracks Lane Garden which is hoping to expand the cafe and have it run more regularly

A COMMUNITY garden is looking to expand its cafe to make it available for more regular use.

Barracks Lane Community Garden hopes to improve the current wooden cabin on the site so that it can be used by more local groups.

The group behind the East Oxford garden is in the early stages of putting together a plan that could see the site opened up to more people on a more regular basis.

Garden co-ordinator Jacqui Mansfield said: “We want to see it used for people to gain skills as well as around gardening.

“We also want it to be a place for people in the community as a bit of a drop-in centre so it can be a real community cafe.”

The group wants to give people who may have experienced disadvantages, social exclusion and inequality the chance to get into the labour market and aim to use the café for them to get some skills.

Ms Mansfield added: “We don’t need a huge amount to get it going, about £6,000. We are always fundraising for different things.

“We run the cafe throughout the summer but it would be so nice to be able to do it on a regular basis.

“We are always hearing from people that they would like more of a regular cafe. If we can combine that with helping people to improve their skills then I think it will be a worthwhile adventure.”

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Annie Davey, also part of the garden group, said: “It is an exciting possibility. We do a lot of surveys and this is one of the things that people mention to us.

“People have said they would like more of a community cafe.

“Hopefully we will be able to do something great for the ecology and any work we do would be environmentally friendly, including using solar panels.”

There is a Winter Greenery and Open Day this weekend at the garden, which opens at 11am. The event, run by The Nature Effect, is free but donations to support the garden are welcome. Visitors can make upcycled decorations.

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