A new £1 million education, business and community facility including a cafe and shop has opened up on a vacant school site in Northampton.
During the past three months, Shez Webb, headteacher of Northgate School Arts College, has led a project to convert of the former Greenfields School site in Harborough Road, Kingsthorpe, into a new cafe, animal centre and shop.
The new facility, called The Bee Hive, will be used as a sixth form centre for students from the special school who are mentally and physically disabled and will give them practical work experience.
The Bee Hive also includes an animal farm with chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs.
The building work has been funded by a £1 million grant from the academies capital fund.
Miss Webb said: “It has been an amazing three month turnaround. what we really needed was more room as there were too many children coming through the system.
“What is great is that this site is just around the corner from Northgate. It has been a huge project and we could not have done it without the support of lots of different people.”
The Bee Hive, which also includes a massage area and hydrotherapy swimming pool, will be open to the public from Monday and the cafe will be open from 10am until 2pm. It is hoped the facility will be open Monday to Saturday for 48 weeks a year.
Michael Ellis said the world needed more people like Shez Webb and encouraged people in Northampton to visit the cafe.
He said: “It has been an amazing change as the school was in a state of disrepair.
“I think this is a wonderful facility and it is going to give the kids at Northgate an understanding of day to day working life.
“I would urge people to come her and enjoy this community facility. It has been a Kingsthorpe project and I’m sure the people of Kingsthorpe will support this project.”
Northgate School Arts College is rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and caters for children with a statement of special needs,
The school has signed a 125-year lease on the Greenfields site which has not been used snce 2009 when the school moved to a new building in Goldings.