Social enterprise loses café contract at Nowton Park

Nowton Park Cafe
Nowton Park Cafe

A social enterprise which provides work opportunities for the disabled has lost a contract to run a café at a Bury St Edmunds beauty spot.

Realise Futures has run Nowton Park Café for five years, but following a tendering process, St Edmundsbury Borough Council awarded the contract to commercial provider AE Catering.

Bosses at Realise Futures say they are ‘disappointed’ at the move but its seven staff at the café have been transferred across to AE Catering so there are no jobs losses.

Some staff have also transferred to a new service Realise Futures is running with community interest company Empanda to provide hot meals and refreshments at Brandon Day Centre.

The social enterprise employs about 325 people across Suffolk - 30 per cent of whom have a disability - and the café provided work experience placements for the disabled.

Realise Futures will continue to run Nowton Park Nursery, which will offer such placements. It also runs House at Nowton, next to the nursery, which provides adult learning courses.

Stacey Lewis, operations manager at Realise Futures, said: “We are, of course, disappointed to be leaving Nowton Park Café and would like to thank all our loyal customers over the years for their support of our social enterprise.”

Cllr Jo Rayner, council cabinet member for leisure and heritage, said they will continue to work with Realise Futures and have ‘every confidence’ AE Catering will ‘provide a good service’ at Nowton Park.