Cafe run by people getting treatment for drug and alcohol issues opens in Wigan

A cafe where people seeking help for drug and alcohol use come together to sell home-cooked and affordable meals has opened in Wigan.
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Now the Straw Bale Café has opened as a social enterprise run by drug and alcohol misuse support charities With You and BAC O’Connor, in partnership with Wigan Council and Greenslate Farm.

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Craig Bethel, head chef of the Straw Bale CafeCraig Bethel, head chef of the Straw Bale Cafe
Craig Bethel, head chef of the Straw Bale Cafe
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People enrolled on With You’s 12-week drug and alcohol recovery programme help run the café, from growing produce on the farm to helping to cook meals and serve customers.

This provides an opportunity to gain life skills and qualifications in areas such as catering and hospitality.

The cafe healthy adult and children’s meals and is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday, between 10am and 4pm.

Kendra Gray, strategic director at BAC O’Connor, said: “We are absolutely delighted that we have been able to reopen the café. The café is a social enterprise, similar to our award-winning Langan’s Tea Rooms in Burton-on-Trent and Cannock, and we are really proud to be able to support our local community in Wigan.

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“Much of the produce served in the Straw Bale Café has been grown on the Greenslate Community Farm site, and all of the food the café sells is home-made by our chefs and fantastic volunteers.

“As admission to the farm is free of charge, customers are very welcome to explore the grounds before or after visiting the café, so that they can see where their food has been grown and meet some of the animals.”

Rachael Musgrave, director of public health at Wigan Council, said: “Greenslate Farm is a unique and special place that helps many people in our community. It is really exciting to see the Straw Bale Café reopening following its closure. It gives those enrolled into With You’s recovery programme the opportunity to give back to their community ,while developing skills and qualifications that could be the first step toward a new career.”

Rhiannon Jones, Greenslate Community Farm project co-ordinator, said: “We are absolutely over the moon that the café has reopened and we are really looking forward to welcoming the local community back to our site.”