Bethan Evans, Reporter
Monday, July 2, 2012
A MUCH-LOVED community cafe has finally opened its doors to the public again after being left as a burnt-out shell for almost a year.
Clarence Park cafe was forced to close in August last year, after an arson attack which left the community park without a cafe for almost 10 months.
But hopes for a new cafe have finally been realised, as businesswoman Tracy Underwood has taken over a new tenancy for the summer.
Tracy, of Thornbury Drive, in Uphill, owns Stoneleigh care home, in Clarence Road South, and applied for the tenancy because she felt the community needed to be given back its meeting place.
She said: “I did not get the tender for the whole park, just the cafe, and so for legal reasons I will have to re-apply for the whole tender in September.
“But I have got the opportunity to open up over the summer and we need to get the cafe up-and-running.
“My friends and family have said they need a cafe and I have had a lot of support from the community. We are going to do fundraising for Barnardos and the hospice.
“The cafe does not have to be massively profitable, I just want it open again.”
Tracy has decided to rebrand the cafe to give it a fresh look for summer and has named the venue after her four-year-old son Oliver, dressed her staff in black and white and provided a new menu.
Tracy said: “I want to claim back the café’s identity and it will not be anything other than what I would expect to get in a café. The quality is going to be excellent and will be affordable.
“I remember thinking in January how sad it was not to have a meeting place there. I thought to myself don’t sit around and moan, let’s do something about it.
“I know I can make a difference. It’s going to be great and hopefully it’s going to be long term.”