A wealth of benefits from community café

Debbie Lewney, Kelly Dunn and Lynn Fahy. Picture by Brian Young Photography
Debbie Lewney, Kelly Dunn and Lynn Fahy. Picture by Brian Young Photography

Like many villages, Swarland has lost a number of facilities over the years, but thanks to the get-up-and-go of three women, that is changing.

Lynn Fahy, Kelly Dunn and Debbie Lewney have teamed up to run a community café, providing a real focal point at the heart of the village.

The interior of Nelson's at the Park, in Swarland. Picture by Brian Young Photography

The interior of Nelson's at the Park, in Swarland. Picture by Brian Young Photography

Nelson’s at the Park, which opened at the start of July, is located in the pavilion in Vyner Park and is being run as a not-for-profit social enterprise, with the aim of pumping funds back into the park area.

It follows the difficulties experienced by Swarland Sports and Recreation Club, which saw it taken under the auspices of the parish council and the Vyner Park Committee being set up.

“It used to boil us a bit as parents that it was unused,” said Lynn. “This was something which would actually draw people into the park and use the building.”

The trio, who have all worked in the village preschool and were involved in the fund-raising and installation of the new play area in 2002 to 2004, were backed in their plans by parents of young children.

Initially, there were doubts about the building being used for something other than sports, but the committee was persuaded eventually to allow them to use one of the rooms and the kitchen.

And so far, it has certainly proved to be a welcome addition for the community. “It’s been very, very well-supported,” said Lynn. “We have been amazed by the support from the village and the surrounding areas.”

Nelson’s is open from 9am to 6pm every day, apart from Tuesdays, serving everything from the Full Nelson breakfast to sandwiches and cakes. See www.nelsonsswarland.co.uk