Work of Friends stalwart Mike to be recognised at Dunwood Park café

THE re-opening of Dunwood Park café – previously Café Mandels – will be a poignant moment for a long-standing Shaw resident.

And even before the café welcomes its first customers, the work of Michael ‘Mike’ McGrother has been recognised.

New tenants Pure Innovations held an informal ‘meet and greet’ with the community earlier this month.

Among the many visitors was Mike’s wife, Caroline McGrother, reunited with a plaque commemorating her husband’s tireless work to transform the fortunes of Shaw’s green oasis.

Mike, a former maths teacher, spent much of his retirement bringing the park back to its heyday, securing funding for the regeneration project.

Sadly, the one-time Chair of the Friends of Dunwood Park, died in 2010 before any of the work came to fruition.

Caroline still lives within sight of the park and now the plaque bearing Mike’s name will be included as part of the new plans.

“He worked very hard on the park and it’s good to see there are definitely more people using it now,” said Caroline.

“I am sure Mike would have been very pleased.”

Pure Innovations Director of Operations Dave Ferrier confirmed: “For whatever reason the plaque didn’t go up previously.

“But having heard how much work Michael did for the park and community, we think it is only fitting his work should be remembered.”

The refurbished café is expected to re-open next month having been closed since the end of August 2018.

Pure were still waiting for the lease to be signed and planning permission to be granted at the time of the community get together on January 4.

But with no stumbling blocks anticipated Dave told the Correspondent: “We are on countdown. All being well we should be opening around the end of February.

“As soon as the lease is signed and we’ve got the keys we will be in.

“This drop in was really about getting to know the community and for us to tell them about Pure Innovations.

“We wanted to share some of our plans, let them know what we are all about and for them to tell us what they would like to see from the café.

“It was a great day and we were overwhelmed by the number of people who came and shared their thoughts opinions.

“Our aim is to use this space as much as we can and work with those groups already using the park to complement what they already bring.”

In addition to the McGrother plaque, there will be new décor inside the building, a photographic reminder of the park’s past and a timeline of key locations in the popular beauty spot.

Visitors will be able to indulge in a new menu complete with home cooked food.

“The menu won’t be massive but the food will be tasty,” added Dave. “Let’s say more quality than quantity.

“We’ve also got a new counter going in, new kitchen equipment being installed, new signage so plenty to keep us busy.”

The café will open seven days a week and while hours have still to be confirmed, they are expected to be 10am-4pm during winter months and a minimum 9am-5pm in summer.

“If there is demand and it is busy we will stay open later,” added Dave.

“Initially, we want to open and gauge where we are.

“But certainly in the summer we can maximise the outdoor space with evening types of event involving food and drink.”

Pure Innovations is a charity supporting people with a disability and other barriers to work to get into work, learn new skills and get involved in community activities.

They already run the Boathouse Café in Alexandra Park plus cafes in Vernon and Etherow Country Parks in Stockport.

Shaw and Crompton Parish Councillor Louie Hamblett said: “I am delighted the café will be re-opened and we will have experienced hands who are looking forward to taking the business on as well as talking to local groups and individuals who can help to support them.

“I am also happy to see the Mike McGrother plaque placed in a prominent location as a dedication to one of the park’s principal founder members.”

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