A‘trailblazing’ community cafe created from recycled shipping containers has been officially opened in Stowmarket.
The innovative project, named @therec, was designed in partnership between Suffolk enterprise agency MENTA and Stowmarket Town Council.
The project is expected to recover its initial investment of around £40,000 through reeduced running costs over the next five years.
Mayor of Stowmarket, Gerard Brewster, who opened the cafe on Saturday with MENTA Chief Executive Alex Till, said the building project had been a huge success.
“I think it is a wonderful way to create a community building,” he said.
“We see Stowmarket as a trailblazer in the field and hope it will be emulate elsewhere in the county and possibly the country.”
The exciting project has been built using two 12-year-old shipping containers from the port of Felixtowe and includes public toilets and a meeting room that can be hired by the public.
Town Clerk David Blackburn said he hoped the project would inspire others to set up similar projects.
“We are delighted with the support we have received from the local community for this prject whch has seen the delivery of not only a replacement to the old toilet facilties but the provision of a new cafe and an internbal area that is available for hire.
“The reduced running costs from the existing toilet block will be £8,000 a year.
“We are very enthusiastic about the project and the feedback has been very supportive.
“We belive its a cutting edge project and the use of containers We hope the project will inspire people to delivery similar projects.”
To celebrate the opening A host of entertainment was laid on to celebrate the grand opening including skateboard compeititons, a climvbing wall and a circus skills workshop.
Mr Brewster said: “I felt very priveleged to be part of the opening of the cafe. It will be there to serve the community and I am sure it will be very well used.”