Author’s Great Yarmouth birthplace gives help to disabled people

It was the birthplace of Black Beauty author Anna Sewell

And now a historic Great Yarmouth building is serving up a treat to customers thanks to people with disabilities and learning difficulties.

The Black Beauty Tea Shoppe is based in Anna Sewell House on Church Plain, where the popular children's author was born in March 30, 1820.

As well as serving teas, breakfasts and lunches, the cafe's owners Terry and Diane Seager pride themselves on using their business to help a dozen people with disabilities and learning problems.

For the last three months volunteers have been seen helping to clear away plates, washing up, setting up parties and chatting to customers in the 17th-century cottage.

The volunteers are helping out as Mr and Mrs Seager have disabilities and realised more could be done to help people in similar situations.

As well as helping the volunteers gain more confidence and develop social skills, the cafe has become a popular destination for disabled people who enjoy a cup of tea and a chat. The cafe is also becoming a community resource as it holds night-time craft, film and friendship clubs.

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Mrs Seager, 44 and who has lived in Yarmouth for 13 years, said another reason why she set up the cafe was because her daughter used to love going to Anna Sewell House when they came up on holiday from Essex.

She said: 'I still get goose bumps when I open in the morning. It has gone very well so far. I think there is a real community feel here.'

Volunteer Brendan Brooks, 19 and who has dyslexia said he had gained a lot of confidence from helping out.

Anna Sewell, who was a Quaker, grew up lame and relied on horses to transport her around her home town.

Sadly the author never saw how hugely successful her book would become as she died aged 58 at her Old Catton home near Norwich five months after it was published in 1877.