Grand Opening of YMCA Café a Huge Hit

Last week saw the doors to our brand new café, reception area and our new entrance on West Percy Street open for the first time. We were joined in celebration by Elected Mayor Norman Redfern, Councillor Tommy Mulvenna and Elected Young Mayor Oscar Daniel as well as specially invited guests, many of our staff and residents.

The £227,650 development is the result of 9 different organisations coming together to provide us with the means to transform the space.

YMCA North Tyneside would like to thank the following organisations for their contribution to the redevelopment of our facilities:

  • Ballinger Charitable Trust
  • Big Lottery Fund
  • DM Thomas Foundation for Young People
  • Garfield Weston Foundation
  • Northstar Ventures Foundation
  • Savoy Educational Trust
  • The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust
  • The Clothworkers’ Foundation
  • YMCA Movement Trust
Chairman of the Board, Ian Pearson

Chairman of the Board for YMCA North Tyneside, Ian Pearson said,

This project represents what YMCA is truly about and where it is going. It represents more than a 12 week building project, more than a 3 year building redevelopment programme, more than a key milestone in a 5 year strategic plan and more than just a nicely done out entrance and a great cup of coffee. YMCA is about creating ‘a community where everyone is healthy, happy and connected’, inspiring members of our community to help transform the lives of young people. Offering them accommodation, training opportunities, encouragement to get into education and employment and the chance to fulfil their potential. But just as importantly, YMCA is doing this in a way where they bring young people and our community together in innumerable, small, but impactful ways – in the gym for example, through volunteering opportunities, through the creation of the café.”

The state-of -the-art training kitchen was put through it’s paces for the first time since it was completed late last year. Our first group of learners created a selection of delicious sandwiches, wraps, cakes and scones for everyone to sample while they enjoyed a celebratory glass of Pimms. The training kitchen is a result of a newly-formed partnership between YMCA North Tyneside and the Employment and Skills Service at North Tyneside Council. It will give students, including long-term unemployed, young people in alternative education and those with extra needs, the chance to hone their culinary skills in a professional environment. They will receive high-quality training as well as access to jobs in catering and hospitality.


Steve Pugh toasts the new cafe opening

Steve Pugh, Head of Operations at YMCA North Tyneside, said: 

“The new training kitchen is a fantastic addition to what we are able to offer here now that the major redevelopment work is complete.

I’m really excited about the prospect of getting the community closer to the work we are doing with young people here. We want people to come into the building and be ‘wowed’ so we will be working really hard to maintain high standards and service levels.”

Bridgett Thornton, Programme Manager, explained:

“This is a partnership scheme offering young people either work experience or a relevant qualification. They stay with us for six to eight weeks and are then contracted to an employer where they are given additional training and a guaranteed job interview at the end.”

Sixteen learners have already signed up for the cookery training course and the delicious food they make will be served in the new café.

One of the learners, Gemma Tapsfield, 28, from Whitley Bay, has been creating healthy and delicious cakes, quiches, cheese scones and wraps. She said: “I’m hoping to learn how to make really good cakes and I would love to work here permanently, eventually.”

Some of our café and kitchen learners

The youngest of our learners, Connor Potter, 15, a pupil at PALS at Churchill Community College has been working really hard in all areas of food preparation and getting to grips with making brilliant coffee added,

“My goal is to get into the catering industry and when I feel confident enough I want to run my own restaurant so this training will give me the experience I need. I’m hoping to get an apprenticeship at YMCA before eventually being employed here as a chef.”

Elected Mayor Norma Redfern

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn attended the event and said,

“When I walked into the new entrance and turned the corner I just thought ‘wow’. Everyone involved in this project has done a fantastic job and I am extremely pleased and proud of our partnership project which will help us give these young people the best chance to succeed. There are so many amazing people in North Tyneside doing great things and this is a really important part of that.” 

Roger Davie, Grace Choi and Andy Ray

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our architect, Grace Choi for her stunning design, and our primary contractors Andy Ray and Roger Davie from Applebridge Building Services. Their attention to detail, craftsmanship and amazing attitude towards YMCA as a client have made the process hugely enjoyable.  In addition we would also like to thank Paul and Chris from Tynemouth Coffee Company for all their invaluable knowledge, coffee training and being so supportive of the vision we have as part of the community….and for providing the best cup of coffee in North Shields!

Before the ribbon was cut and our glasses were raised, CEO of YMCA North Tyneside Dean Titterton said, 

Dean Titterton

“The 3 strategic priorities that we highlighted in our 5 year plan have been overwhelmingly put into action with this fantastic new entrance and café. It provides us with a shop front – a way to encourage people in and talk to them about our work – to engage them in fundraising and volunteering. The income from the café will create a surplus that will feed into our charitable work. By simply buying a cup of coffee here, and it will be the best cup of coffee in North Shields, people will be directly contributing to our work.”

He continued:

“This in turn will help us create more bed spaces, run more training courses and develop the potential of more young people. This development creates so many opportunities for our young people; to undertake training and work experience in catering, hospitality, customer service. To gain valuable skills for employability. And most importantly to develop their self confidence and self esteem.


We hope to see lots of you in the café for a coffee and some lunch very soon!

The new café at YMCA North Tyneside is open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 5.30pm. For more information call (0191) 257 5434 or visit www.ymcanorthtyneside.org

Find out more about training opportunities and careers at http://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/119/skills-jobs-and-careers

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