A CAFE set up less than a year ago in a community centre has been hailed as a success after turning a profit and bringing in 'new audiences' to the venue.

Bosses at The Reading Room, which is based at The Barlow in Edgworth, have said the new attraction has enabled the centre to hold bigger events over the last year.

It was opened in May in the style of a similar venue which opened on the site more than a century ago.

The cafe has already turned a profit, much earlier than staff had anticipated, and a ‘more diverse’ range of people are now coming through the doors from elderly people to students studying for their dissertations.

It has also enabled the centre to hold larger events such as weddings and christenings.

Trustee Lee Parker said it’s been great to see how the cafe has developed.

He said: “The Reading Room has brought in a new audience to The Barlow.

“We have been finding that a multitude of individuals have been walking through the doors and we wanted to create something which would bring everyone together in the same space.

“And in doing so we have opened the place up to local people to socialise and relax and enjoy a good cup of coffee.

“We are now able to support events like weddings. It has been excellent to see the way it has grown.”

Over the next three to six months more food options including soup will be offered in The Reading Room.

And very soon the room will also have a historic painting back on the walls, the George and Dragon, after North Turton with Tockholes councillor Jean Rigby secured a grant of £6,000 for its restoration.

General manager John Harwood said: “It’s getting more and more support from the community all the time.

“We are finding that people are dropping in on an ad hoc basis much more than before.

“We have had a number of events at the centre since it opened and they have really driven its success.”

Bosses at The Barlow have recently lodged a bid with the Heritage Lottery Fund for an initial £10,000, with the vision of bidding for up to £2million at a later stage, in order to give the historic building a new lease of life.