Arson-hit café bounces back with top award

The Growlers Cafe on Church Lane, Gorleston which has been severely damaged by fire.Picture: James B

The Growlers Cafe on Church Lane, Gorleston which has been severely damaged by fire.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Less than a year after an arson attack devastated a building that acts as a community hub, a café has been voted one of Britain's best.

Andrew Wakelin with the Growlers Cafe team. Photo: Tregartha Dinnie Ltd

Andrew Wakelin with the Growlers Cafe team. Photo: Tregartha Dinnie Ltd - Credit: Archant

Growlers Café in Gorleston was hit by a blaze on the day it was due to open to the public in August last year.

The building in Church Lane was a community centre but it was the target of several burglaries and eventually closed.

Bradley Gager had been working to restore the vacant premises and borrowed money from his father to renovate it.

After the fire he said he did not know how he could come back from it. Now the owner of Growlers said he was 'over the moon' with the award.


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'It was quite emotional to be honest. After a massive setback that broke me financially and emotionally to have this feedback is brilliant,' Mr Gager said.

The café was nominated by its customers was pitted against other businesses in an online vote.

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Mr Gager said they had massive support from the community and from East Norfolk College across the road.

In the wake of the fire an online funding page was set up and the café received nearly £300 in donations and it reopened in April this year.

The café received its award as a regional winner in a competition to find Britain's Best Café.

Organised by SIG Roofing and run with the help of its local branches, the competition attracted entries from 500 cafés and more than 25,000 votes from members of the public.

The result was announced at a presentation lunch held at London's Chiswell Street Brewery, where representatives from 14 regional finalists gathered to receive their awards from Andrew Wakelin, managing director of SIG Roofing.

Do you have a story about a community project? Email george.ryan@archant.co.uk

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