Thursday, 16 September 2021

Cafe closes as Youth Centre sold

A CAFE based at the former Henley Youth Centre has closed after five years

A CAFE based at the former Henley Youth Centre has closed after five years.

The HOT (Henley-on-Thames) Frog café had its last day of trading on Friday following the closure of the centre and sale of the site in Deanfield Avenue for development.

Carolyne Neighbour, who had been the café manager for three years, has been made redundant, as has part-time assistant manager Nicky Plumridge.

Mrs Neighbour said: ?We understand why it has come to an end but it?s a real shame because it will be missed and not just by the students ? we have a lot of customers who love coming here.

?I?ve put my heart and soul into this place and have had a great time, so it?s very sad that it?s closing but you have to move on.?

The café was the responsibility of Henley Social Enterprise, a not-for-profit organisation run by staff at The Henley College as a community hub and to give special needs students work experience.

Mrs Neighbour said a search for a new site had proved fruitless.

?It?s not easy, especially when you?re dealing with people with disabilities and special needs. It has to be very accessible and it has to bloomin? cheap.

?Land is such an expensive commodity and there?s not enough of it.?

The café opened in November 2010 and served up to 30 customers a day.

The Thamesfield Youth Association, which owns the 0.6-acre youth centre site, has agreed a £3million deal with care home company B&M Care to buy the land. The sale is expected to be completed on July 31.

The deal includes a derelict plot behind the centre which is owned by the college.

The proceeds will be split between the association and the college with the former receiving a slightly larger share.

The land has been allocated 25 homes under the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan.

The association announced in June last year that it could no longer afford the £45,000-a-year running costs of the centre.

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