A SCHOOL has been awarded a grant to go towards the launch of its new public cafe and kitchen garden.

The Dales Area Education in the Community Committee awarded the grant to St John’s School and Sixth Form, in Bishop Auckland, after they had applied for the grant in May earlier this year.

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The funds will support plans for a produce garden for the kitchen, in which keen youngsters will get their hands dirty in plots, growing and cultivating fresh vegetables and tending to plants in the school greenhouse.

On Friday last week, year nine and ten catering pupils were hard at work making a selection of foods for the launch of their public cafe.

Each table had been decorated with flowers, balloons and confetti, and the pupils even served tea and greeted guests, showing off their hospitality skills.

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Lucy Maddison, head of design technology, said: “Pupils will grow fresh produce in the garden, and this will help them to learn about healthy foods, sustainability and where ingredients come from.

“Our catering students have worked hard on the overgrown plots and have cleared the area to make way for new produce.”

Once ripe and ready to be harvested, the vegetables will be picked and used as ingredients in soups and other tasty recipes.

St John’s School welcomes the public to come along and try the menu as well as offering guests a friendly atmosphere and comfortable space to relax.

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The menu will include sandwiches, nutritious soups made with ingredients from the kitchen garden, and a variety of main course meals.

Ms Maddison said: “Our new cafe will bridge a gap between pupils and the local community, especially vulnerable groups who perhaps feel isolated and lonely.

“The cafe will give catering pupils the opportunity to gain life and employability skills, as well as helping them towards their qualification and encouraging teamwork.”

The community cafe will be open to the public 2.00pm until 3.00pm every Friday.