A CAFE which aims to help the homeless and long-term unemployed through serving up quality locally-sourced food has opened in Kendal.

The Gate, on Stricklandgate, was officially opened on Friday by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who tucked into a filled Yorkshire pudding special.

Also on the menu was a range of paninis, sandwiches, soups, crepes, ice cream sundaes and some scrumptious cakes supplied by Ginger Bakers, of Kendal.

Eatery director John Fleetwood said the team tried to use as many local ingredients as possible.

He said: “The bread comes from Kendal’s Staff of Life Bakery, the cheese from near Shap and the meat from Sedbergh, so we try to support local businesses.”

The cafe also supports Kendal housing charity Manna House, with all profits going toward the charity. Two clients from the house, who may be homeless or long-term unemployed, are also being trained to help them get back into work.

Front of house manager Marc Kelly said: “We want to train these people in all aspects of the catering industry - from the serving to the presentation of food in the kitchen.”

“We are also trying to link with Kendal College so that they can gain qualifications, and others such as the probation service to see if we can help people in different circumstances.”

As well as trainees Lorna and James, The Gate also has many volunteers, and it is hoped that they will be involved in international food evenings in the future.

Diverse culture is already obvious from just looking around the building, as there is artwork from Bolivia, flooring from China, tables from India and chairs made of banana fibre.

“It’s great use of what was an empty shop for a long time - it looks great,” said Mr Farron. “They absolutely deserve to succeed here and they have done more than they need to make it a competitive place to attract locals in.”

The Gate Cafe is open 9.30am - 4.30pm Monday to Saturday, with an early closure at 2pm on Thursdays.