A business centre at the heart of a County Durham community has added a cafe to the string of services it provides under one roof – creating six new jobs as a result.

To coincide with its second birthday, The HUB Consett is now offering hot and cold refreshments from its base on Sherburn Terrace following a significant investment in a kitchen area.

The HUB is already home to Celebrate Difference – a social enterprise supporting people with ADHD -, MINT Business Club – a membership club for small businesses -, a shop stocking products from up to 50 local traders, co-working office spaces, and training and business advice.

The addition of the cafe provision has resulted in the creation of six new employment posts – seeing the social enterprise increase the number of its staff members to 20.

Nicola Jayne Little, the HUB’s founder and director, said: “We never stand still at The HUB Consett and we are always looking to add to the services we provide for the people of the town, and the wider North East, to make sure everybody feels valued and part of the community.

“We’ve been blown away by the support of the people in the region since we poured our heart and soul into transforming the building from a disused pub to the thriving hub of activity it currently is, and introducing the cafe will mean we can provide a welcoming, inclusive and warm place for people to visit and enjoy some food and hot drinks while catching up with friends and family.

“The team is on an amazing journey and we’re thrilled that we have been able to provide employment for so many people in the community, especially to those vulnerable people who have struggled to find jobs elsewhere.

“The HUB and our sister companies Celebrate Difference and MINT Business Club continue to go from strength to strength, and we’re excited to be planning for our next venture.”

The HUB building has undergone a remarkable transformation with Nicola leading an army of helpers to convert the former bar and nightclub into a welcoming retail, cafe and business space for all members of the community to use.

The creation of the kitchen area was helped by a £1,000 donation from construction consultants Rider Hunt which part-funded renovation work to the roof.

Andrew Dawson, a Director at Rider Hunt, said: “Rider Hunt is delighted to support this unique project, making a real difference to real people. The HUB Consett is a fantastic community resource and testament to the hard work of all those involved.

“We all need a place like The HUB which gives our communities a focal point to thrive.”

The outside of The HUB building has been given an eye-catching makeover too with a full paint job of the exterior and an impressive historic painting of the town adorning the shutters.

A further renovation of the interior was carried out over the festive period creating more space for customers to enjoy locally roasted and blended coffee and tea, and fresh, homemade food in the kitchen.

Nicola said: “Our goal is to make The HUB as welcoming and comfortable for our guests, and who continue to be amazed by the transformation of the building both inside and out.

“It’s taken a lot of blood, sweat and even tears from myself and our amazing volunteers, and we’re so pleased that we’re able to provide such a valuable and appreciated service to such a wide range of people.”

Donna Tunney, the manager of the HUB, said: “For almost two years I have been part of the amazing team at The HUB. A wonderful space has been created here in the heart of Consett, and seeing it bring so much joy to those who access it is truly heartwarming.

“It’s a privilege to be part of it and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this wonderful place, and I can’t help but shout about it to everyone I connect with.”

The HUB Consett is open to the public between Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9am to 3pm.