Northampton community cafe will open 'al fresco' this Monday after five months in lockdown

Cafe Track will be back starting next week - and they'll have more chairs outside this time too.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:56 pm
Cafe Track will reopen in earnest this Monday for the first time since the first lockdown.

A Northampton cafe that has been on the shelf for all of 2021 will be welcoming back customers this Monday as restrictions ease.

Cafe Track has had as tough a year as any. Following the third national lockdown announced in December, the community has been closed for all of 2021.

And even after restrictions were set to ease in August last year after the first national lockdown, co-owner Tom Cliffe had to make the tough call to stay shut when the town's Covid-19 testing centre was opened on its doorstep on the Market Square.But this Monday (May 17), Cafe Track will be able to welcome back staff and customers fully for the first time in nearly a year.

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Tom said: "It's been a long time to stay shut while following Government advice but it's a relief that it will be time to welcome customers and staff back on Monday.

"because of the location we would have struggled to run any meaningful takeaway service during restrictions. We were able to open for a few days in December but it didn't last long.

"We've always been more of a community cafe. We'll be able to welcome customers back but also staff who can work and improve their employability."

Cafe Track is a social enterprise cafe that offers work opportunities to individuals with autism and developmental conditions so they can get experience in retail.

Reopening has proven a challenge for Tom and the team as there is only enough room for around six people to sit inside the premises.

So now, starting Monday, the Market Square cafe also hopes to return with more seating outside for customers following a donation by business support charity Northants Community Aid.

The social enterprise cafe is also home to a mental health crisis cafe on Mondays.