A NEW community cafe has opened in Leigh town centre following an investment by a local food surplus charity.

Seeing a vital need to support the community, The Bridge At Leigh launched as a in 2016 to offer affordable meals with surplus food.

Volunteers also offered an activities programme for people to socialise as well as mental health support through its counselling service, but the Avenue cafe unfortunately closed during the pandemic in 2020.

Since the cafe's closure, The Bridge's focus has been on its similar affordable food market, but a long-held ambition to reopen a cafe and community hub was finally made a reality last week, with the 'Tea Junction' declared officially open by Mayor of the Borough, Cllr Kevin Anderson, and MP James Grundy.

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Leigh Journal: Mayor Kevin Anderson and James Grundy MP cutting the Tea Junction ribbonMayor Kevin Anderson and James Grundy MP cutting the Tea Junction ribbon (Image: Dorothy Bowker)
With the launch party of Tea Junction taking place on Saturday, January 26, there is a commitment to provide "quality food at reasonable prices".

Utilising surplus food where possible from The Bridge food market, the cafe's menu will include breakfasts, sandwiches, toasties, 'Soup of the Day', 'Dish of the Day', cakes and more to eat in or takeaway.

There is also a commitment for all products to being made fresh on the premises or bought in from other local businesses to work together and support the wider community. 

Leigh Journal: Local councillors helped to get the project off the groundLocal councillors helped to get the project off the ground (Image: Dorothy Bowker)
The name Tea Junction was also chosen specifically as it aims to bring the community together through affordable food, activities and workshops such as cooking demonstrations, crochet, knitting, and wellbeing events.

Special events are also planned throughout the year, such as Valentines Afternoon Tea, Mothers Day Afternoon Tea, as well as fundraising and themed events.

Leigh Journal: The cafe will use surplus food for affordable meals where possibleThe cafe will use surplus food for affordable meals where possible (Image: Dorothy Bowker)
The revival of the Tea Junction has been made possible by grants from the council and National Lottery, while the building has been brought back to life with new shutters and signage installed by local business SX Signs as well as a colourful mural wall by local artist Lisa Michelle. 

Dorothy Bowker, Trustee of The Bridge and a Member of the British Empire for her services to the community, said:

“We are very grateful for the support we have received from Wigan Council Security Fund and local councillors Brighter Borough fund towards our new shutters, National Lottery Community Fund, also our Launch party sponsors Waterfield Bakers and Clapham’s Bakers and all the people who came on the day to support us”.

The Tea Junction will be open on Railway Road between Monday and Saturday from 9am to 3pm.