'Saying it with cake' as bookings are booming at Skegness' new community centre

Bookings are booming at Skegness' new community centre - but there are still many people who do not know the cafe exists.

New Cafe Dansant manager Steph Sears (left) with Helena Wainwright at the till and Debbie Jones with one of the homemade cakes.

Cafe Dansant has faced a number of challenges since it opened at Skegness Town Council's new Tower Gardens Pavilion building last summer.

Covid-19 restrictions meant it was only able to open for five months last year - and since re-opening in May, unlike the main hall which is booked up with organisations, councillors say the cafe has been relatively quiet.

This is in spite of the facility being in Tower Gardens, with seating in the nearby bandstand looking particularly attractive with flower baskets, and the building having special toilets, shower and changing facilities for the disabled.

Cafe Dansant is situated in Tower Gardens and has tables in the bandstand for those wanting to enjoy the park outdoors.

What action to take to get more people to discover the cafe was discussed at last week's meeting of the council.

Coun Mark Anderson read out a letter from a visitor which was complementary but but highlighted the need for further advertisement to let people know where the café was.

Since then, posters have been put around Tower Gardens and when the Standard went along to have a look, the cafe was busier.

Especially delighted to see this was Steph Sears, who has joined the team as the new manager of the cafe.

Steph has joined the cafe from the B&M Home Store in Skegness, where she was in charge of the food aisles.

"I'm really excited to be here," she said. "It's such a lovely setting here and so relaxing when you can sit in the cafe and look out into the lovely Tower Gardens.

"Everything is homemade and we are so lucky to still have Christine Hubbert doing the baking - her cakes and scones are amazing as she has such wonderful recipe ideas.

"I wanted a challenge and I am looking forward to seeing the cafe progress."

Town clerk Steve Larner explained that as the cafe is in the town's new community centre, where Skegness Town Council is also based, profit is not a priority in the same way as in a commercial business.

"Our hall is booked up with organisations and we have a waiting list so we hope in the autumn and winter when the visitors have gone home that they will support the cafe," said Steve.

"If people have any ideas for the hall and cafe we would love to hear them."

Brian Weald of Skegness School of Tai Chi for Wellbeing was holding a class in the hall. "It's a lovely facility and has everything we could need - toilets and a cafe," he said. "We are really happy here."

Enjoying some refreshments with friends in the bandstand was Kath McHale. "We are local and come here a lot," she said. "The service os lovely and we would really recommend it."

Councillors have resolved that:

a) Opening times for the café are removed from the Business Plan

and delegated to the Town Clerk to determine with the café to

maximise operational efficiency.

b) The apprentice post is removed from the establishment but

remains an aspiration, when able to do so.

c) The supervisor role is shared between two posts each on a

contracted minimum time of 16 hours per week.

d) Delegated authority be given to the Town Clerk to purchase some

point of sale items for the café.

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