The café at Waterloo Park is set to reopen this summer, under new management.
Norwich City Council has awarded a contract for a five-year lease to The Feed, who hope to welcome customers back to the popular venue in the park’s pavilion next month.
The Feed is a not-for-profit social enterprise and charity that aims to prevent poverty, hunger and homelessness in Norwich.
It currently has four sites in the city, including a café in Prince of Wales Road, a bistro at Kettle Foods, The Feed Café within REST mental health hub in Bethel Street and are in the process of opening The Feed social supermarket in Hall Rd.
The Feed provides supported work experience to people who face a barrier to employment and works with people who, for example, are at risk of homelessness, have had mental health problems, addiction issues or an offence history.
The Feed will offer an affordable varied menu ranging from pastries, cakes fried breakfasts and healthier alternatives, jacket potatoes, ciabattas, street food, salads and soups.
Councillor Matthew Packer, cabinet member responsible for parks and play areas, said:
“We are delighted to welcome The Feed to run the café at Waterloo Park.
“They have conducted thorough research into the park and considered park users’ requirements, which will be reflected in the varied menu they will be offering.
“It was very clear that the community is at the heart of what they do. All food is locally sourced and any profits that they make will be given to the Feed foundation to support the work that they do in the community.
“Having The Feed on board will be a huge benefit for parks users and for working with community groups – as required by the council during the tender process.
“The city council has been carrying out a programme of improvement works to Waterloo Park, including repairs to the ornamental pond, so having the café reopen to the public this summer with such a great offering is the perfect addition to this well-loved park.”
More than 60 interested parties contacted the city council about running the café when the lease was first advertised.
Seven of these went on to complete the pre-tender questionnaire and were then judged by representatives from the friends group, NPS and the parks team at Norwich City Council. Four of the seven were chosen for the tender stage of the process and The Feed was chosen from this for the five-year lease.
Norwich City Council has spent £36,000 on refurbishing the building, which sits in a Grade II listed pavilion in Waterloo Park.
Work included upgrading the lighting and electrics, the lift and fire alarm system.
Lucy Parish, chief executive officer of The Feed, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been given the opportunity to bring this valuable community asset back to life.
“The Waterloo Park pavilion café will be welcoming and accessible, and at the heart of the park and the community.
“The café will serve a delicious range of food and drinks and the beautiful Sandys-Winsch room upstairs will provide a community space for groups to meet.
“This opportunity means we will be able to support more people in Norwich and offer more formal opportunities for qualification. We are very excited!”
The lease now needs to be completed by the council’s legal team; with a hope the café will open its doors to the public next month.