Plans for a new training cafe serving the Highams Park community

3rd Jul 2020

Whitefield Academy Trust will submit plans for a new community training café to the council later this month. If accepted and if consultation with local residents goes well – construction of the new café in the park opposite Joseph Clarke School could begin this summer. 

The project is designed to provide real work experience and community engagement for Joseph Clarke and Whitefield Schools students – both those interested in the catering and hospitality sector, and also those who would like to practice more general work skills in a supportive environment. 

It will also give the whole community somewhere nice to sit and have a cuppa.  We are hoping that that its toilets will also be open to the public as part of the Council’s Community Toilet Scheme, which will be particularly welcome to parents of young children using the playground. 

The café replaces an old building that was used as a toilet block years ago. The café will be be managed as a non-profit business by a professional catering tutor and at the start will have modest opening hours. 

The scheme is part of the school and Academy Trust’s commitment to giving its students the best possible opportunity to enter into full-time paid employment and complements its work with Project SEARCH. 

Research suggests that only 1 in 10 people with poor functional vision are in paid employment, we want to do everything we can to improve upon that.


Who will it be for?

The Training Café will be open during school hours and is likely to start with very modest opening times. The core customers are likely to be school staff during their breaks or meetings, and we expect  that users of the Vincent Road Park will wish to use the Café, including carers of pre-school children, or groups from other special schools. There will be space for buggies to be parked.

Because the Cafe will be designed to serve existing park users, we don't expect it to generate additional traffic and we will encourage the use of  reusable cups through pricing, to reduce risk of additional littering and the school will work with the Council to determine whether additional bins for the use of the public are necessary. 


Your views

We are inviting local resident to view our proposals early, before they are shared with the wider public as a part of a formal planning application. You can email the architectural team at with any questions or comments. It would be helpful to have your views by Thursday July 16th.