One of Caistor’s most prominent buildings is being given a new lease of life by a charity helping people build better lives.
Sitting at the gateway to the town, and once home to the largest sheep fair in England, the former Fleece Inn was most recently used as a school by Lincolnshire Montessori.
Now, as previously reported, Top House as it is known, is being renovated by Grimsby-based charity Rock Foundation to become a supported living complex for adults with learning disabilities.
This work will take sometime, but meanwhile, the charity has been busy creating a community space, which opened for business last week.
There is a tea room, together with a gift shop and sweet emporium, which have already been well supported, much to the delight of charity chief executive Pam Hodge.
She said: “The local community has really got behind us.
“We were run off our feet on the first day of opening - people seem to be very pleased we are here.
“I would like to thank the Caistor community for welcoming us and we want to continue working with them in any way we can.
“We hope what we are doing here will be an asset to Caistor; we want Caistor to benefit from us being here.”
The opening of the tea room and shop has created five jobs - two full time, and five part-time.
Springs Church, which used to meet in Nettleton Village Hall, is also supporting the Rock Foundation project.
They are now renting office space on the site and will be holding their cafe church in the tea room on Sundays.
“All the income generated is ploughed back into the charity,” added Pam.
“We are also selling a number of garden items, such as benches and planters, which have been made by our students.
“Once the grants come in, we can turn our focus on getting the rest of the premises ready.
This will provide supported living for adults with learning disabilities, through a house parent system.
“We are really keen to get this done as soon as possible as we have a waiting list for the accommodation.
“We also want to make the most of the wonderful aspect we have here looking out over Waterhills.
“We have already put in some outdoor play equipment for families to enjoy.
“We are also planning to create a walk down to the natural spring.”
Top House talk:
Time for tea
The tea room will be open from Tuesday to Saturday, 8.30am to 4pm, serving light bites and hot drinks, as well as a breakfast menu.
Produce is sourced locally and includes Willingham Fayre ice cream.
A safe, enclosed area has been set aside for parents with young children to meet. This area can also be hired for children’s parties.
The shop and sweet emporium is stocked with a range of tasty treats and gift ideas for all ages.