New cafe opens at coast leisure centre

Darrell Blake and Caroline Blake at the West Coast Cafe and Smoothie Bar.
Darrell Blake and Caroline Blake at the West Coast Cafe and Smoothie Bar.
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The cafe at St Annes YMCA Pool and Gym is open again – under a franchise operated by the proprietors of a town centre eaterie.

Darrell and Caroline Blake, who have run the Clock House Cafe in St Annes Square for the past 18 months, are operating the West Coast cafe in the foyer of the Pool on the Promenade – eight months after its previous incarnation, the Triange Cafe, operated by the YMCA, closed because of a lack of demand.

Caroline said: “It’s a great opportunity for us and we are planning to take on extra staff to cover the two locations.

“It is a completely different menu to that at the Clock House, with smoothies among the specialities and we have named it the West Coast because if where the pool is situated. It’s a great location.”

The franchise system already works successfully at other YMCA centres around the Fylde coast and Darrell and Caroline have previously provided services at a YMCA, having catered at the General Election count held at Lytham last May.

John Cronin, YMCA Fylde Coast chief executive, said: “We hope the café is a resounding success and will work closely with YMCA St Annes Pool and Gym in continuing to provide the best possible service for the community.”

When the St Annes YMCA Pool and Gym reopened in January 2014 following a £625,000 revamp, The Triangle Cafe was a prime feature of an enhanced entrance, reception and social area – but just 18 months on, the cafe closed, despite hundreds more users going through the doors of the building since its upgrade to include extended changing rooms and improved spectator seating.

Mr Cronin said at the time: “Despite our best attempts to promote the café there just hasn’t been the customer demand needed to cover the costs of running it day to day.”