A METHODIST church and an organic bakery have joined forces to create a community cafe that also hopes to encourage people from outside the area to visit the village.

Hurworth Methodist Church, in Hurworth on Tees, near Darlington, has been transformed to accommodate the new Clervaux at Hurworth Cafe.

The Hurworth venture will be run by the same team behind the successful Clervaux Bakery and Artisan Cafe, which has venues in Darlington, Northallerton, Stokesley and Thirsk, where it is known as Olivia’s.

The cafe is the brainchild of Reverend Andrew Stobart, who wanted to create a community venue that he felt was lacking in the village, while at the same time retaining the heart of the church building.

Recognising that the small congregation at the church would be unable to sustain a cafe on a volunteer basis, he approached Rick McCordall, who runs Clervaux Bakery, to see if he would be interested in expanding his operation.

The new cafe will be run on a commercial basis staffed by Clervaux Bakery and supplied with fresh baked goods from its Darlington branch, but will also provide community events for the people of Hurworth.

Several week of building work took place to create a serving area and a flexible space for worship and cafe events, as well as disabled facilities, ahead of the opening.

Rev Stobart said the cafe had been quietly opened a week before the official launch to allow staff to test the facilities and had already proved a big hit with local residents.

He said: “People are thrilled, they said it is just what the village needs. One couple who have lived here for 43 years said they have been waiting for something like this for years and now we have managed to provide it for the community.

“We are really pleased to create something the community can value and a space for them to enjoy. We also hope to see people from outside the village to enjoy the cafe and the produce from Clervaux.”

The cafe will be open Monday to Saturday between 8.30am and 4.30pm and on Sundays from 11am to 4pm, after worship at 10am.