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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Upcycled cafe keeps Cumbrian woman’s Eden venture green

Environmental science graduate Hayley Slack wasn’t prepared to compromise her green principles when she went into business.

Hayley Slack photo
Hayley Slack

The 26-year-old, of Cargo, Carlisle, opened Cafe Eden at Brougham Hall, near Penrith, in November.

She uses local produce wherever possible, composts food waste, recycles cardboard and plastic packaging, and has fitted out the cafe with upcycled furniture, crockery and cutlery.

The former pupil of William Howard School, Brampton, took an unconventional route into catering. She said: “I studied environmental science at Lancaster University and after graduating didn’t know what to do with my career.

“I went from temporary job to temporary job.

“When the cafe came up, I was ready for a change. I was inspired by reading about other women who had gone into business.”

Mrs Slack, whose maiden name was Geldart, married her husband James last May.

Originally from Dalton-in-Furness, she came north when her parents moved to Carlisle when she was 16.

The cafe at Brougham Hall had traded since 2007 as Fusion Cafe. Mrs Slack took the premises on a rolling annual lease and reopened it as Cafe Eden on November 5. She said: “There was nothing left [by the previous owners]. I had to fit a new kitchen. The budget was tight.”

The green ethos of using upcycled materials meant she could furnish the cafe at reasonable cost.

She said: “I went to Impact Furniture Services [which sells restored furniture] to buy tables and chairs. My family and friends donated items. I went around charity shops for cutlery and I’m using my grandma’s tea set.”

She buys meat from Penrith butcher Cranstons, and jams, preserves, breads and so on from other local suppliers such as More? The Artisan Baker in Kendal and Carvetii Coffee from Embleton, near Cockermouth.

Mandy Abbott, of Lowther, bakes her cakes.

Mrs Slack said: “I am trying to use as much local produce as possible and to support other local businesses. Working together, we can help each other.”

Business has been steady for the first three months.

She is, however, planning to take on help for Easter and there is plenty of room outside for tables – to add to the 24 covers inside – when the weather improves.

Mrs Slack said: “I’ve had quite a few locals coming in.

“This is the quiet time of year but that has been good because I’ve been able to find my feet, find what works and what doesn’t. Now I feel ready for the busy season.”

Cafe Eden is open 10am to 4pm daily.

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