A NEW community café has opened offering opportunities for volunteers and people with disabilities.

Martin and Lynne Kemp are directors of The Old Library Café Bar off Bacup Road, Waterfoot and have established it as a community interest company.

The library has been empty for the last few years following the closure of Crystal Rocks.

It has now been extensively refurbished to provide two light and bright dining rooms with ground floor disabled-friendly facilities.

Lynne, who is managing the café, said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome people into our lovely fully accessible meeting place.

“We opened in October and already we have got many regulars, especially people from nearby Irwell House, because it is easy walking distance.”

The Old Library held its first function ‘A Reet Good Do’ for members and friends of Newchurch Methodist Church and the Lancashire night for 42 guests sold out in two days.

Lynne said: “Our chef Greg Ramsey, who is originally from the Black Country, created posh Lancashire hotpot something he had never cooked before but it went down very well and we received lots of lovely feedback.”

The café has 14 volunteers who help with service and in the kitchen whenever they can.

Primary school teacher Margaret Robinson, from Bacup, said: “I heard about the café at Kay Street Baptist Church and then came in with friends for a coffee to see what it was like and I offered to help.

“I work part-time in a school in Oldham so I have offered to volunteer one day a week when I am free. I was here on Saturday and I loved it.

“Everyone was really welcoming and it was nice to interact with the customers many of whom had walked to the café and said it was nice to have somewhere they didn’t need to drive to.”

As a community interest company, The Old Library aims to benefit the local community by providing a meeting place and also offer volunteering opportunities.

Ingredients are sourced as locally as possible with many coming from Rossendale including the cake selection.

Artists have the opportunity to display their work for sale on the walls of the café.

Martin said: “We would like to work with other local organisations looking for a venue. It is a nice building and it is good that it is now being used again.”

Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry used the café as a venue for his regular ‘meet the MP’ session and on December 5 a storytelling session will be held based on the popular Stick Man series by Julia Donaldson.

The Old Library is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 4.30pm and can be contacted on 01706 230159.