A community garden centre and cafe in Southport has been granted permission to serve alcohol to diners and guests.
Four Seasons on Liverpool Road in Birkdale, which is run by clients of The Learning Rooms, will now be able to serve drinks to people enjoying their meals at the centre at lunchtimes or to guests who attend occasional fundraising events in the evenings.
The Learning Rooms is a non-profit company which provides employment in industries such as catering, hairdressing, and floristry for people with additional needs.
As part of this, it also runs a cafe and garden centre The Four Seasons.
The last fundraiser which was held at Four Seasons for The Liverpool Chest and Heart Hospital.
Four Seasons provides a safe environment for adults with additional needs to access the world of work whilst selling a range of goods and services for the local community.
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Visitors can enjoy a garden centre, cafe, gift shop, florist and a charity shop. The centre also sells a mix of personalised gifts, crafts, plants and floral displays as well as food and beverages.
The application was heard by Sefton Council’s Licensing Committee. Although there were some objections from some neighbouring residents, councillors granted a licence that means the venue can now open daily from 9am to 5pm, and alcohol can legally be sold between 11.30am-4pm each day.
Four Seasons Director Ruth Wareing said: “We always try and work closely with our neighbours.
“We invite them to events we host, provide Christmas meals and entertainment free of charge to church groups, provide transport and driver to groups so they are able go out on day trips and we have also provided food to isolated and vulnerable people throughout lockdown and still continue to do so.
“We have held consultation meetings and invited all local residents to Four Seasons to speak to them about the work we are doing and invite them to ask any questions.
“We would defy, and welcome, anyone to come and spend some time with us, get to know what we do, get to know some of the people who work here and leave with anything but admiration for these amazing individuals and their achievements.
“The support we have received from the public has been fantastic and we have received many positive comments on social media and from people who have been in touch directly.
“The safety and wellbeing of our clients is paramount so we are not yet open to the public. However, we have been working hard throughout lockdown and when we reopen we will be even more inclusive for all.
“Anyone will be able to visit us for a meal and a drink, all menus, signage etc will be accessible, staff have ongoing training in Makaton sign language and we are looking at the options we have to install a Changing Place.
“We aim to be one of the areas first fully accessible hospitality and retail premises where barriers are broken down, people feel safe, included and involved in their local and wider community.
“If anyone would like to find out a little more about what we do please call 01704 551521 or email email@example.com. We are also on Facebook – Four Seasons by the Learning Rooms.”
Speaking at the Licensing Committee meeting, Sefton Council’s legal adviser Fiona Townsend said: “An extra condition is that the consumption of alcohol be restricted to the licensed area only.
“We consider the imposed hours to be reasonable. Should any concerns come to fruition, respective parties have the right to request a review of the premises licence.”