Head of Product Marketing
The Handlebar Café is cycle-friendly, socially-sourced, straddles an old railway line and was designed by the young minds of spudYOUTH, a RIBA award winning charity. Accsys has been supporting the project throughout its development, contributing both funding and sustainable, long-lasting Accoya® wood for its cladding and decking.
Accsys, together with its distributor James Latham (www.lathamtimber.co.uk), has provided the Accoya wood to help the students realise their dream project: a cyclist-friendly and community-centred café along the Viaduct Cycle Path at the foot of St Catherine’s Hill, south of Winchester.
After extraordinary community support from local businesses, individuals and the local authorities, over £350,000 was raised turning their concept into a reality with Handlebar Café officially opening for business yesterday.
A ‘model of sustainability’ and constructed largely from timber, the design was inspired by the train carriages that no longer run along the railway line. Fitting in perfectly to the project’s sustainability goals is the use of Accoya® wood for the exterior elements.
Accsys’ proprietary acetylation process transforms FSC® certified, sustainable, fast growing wood into a building material that can also outperform man-made, unsustainable or heavily carbon-polluting alternatives. This means the Handlebar Café will not only look great, but will also be locking up captured atmospheric carbon in the wood of its walls and flooring for decades.
As Accoya wood is so stable and durable, the trees used to make them will actually be regrown several times over during the lifetime of products made from it – and the carbon footprint for production is very low (or even negative).
Local children, working with the spudYOUTH charity, designed and planned the venue to provide ethically-sourced food and drink, cycle hire and repair facilities, and training and jobs for young and long-term unemployed people.
It will also provide a venue for charity and community activities, with up to 140 free architecture workshops per year for up to 20 young people each. The project also aims to promote healthy and environmentally friendly living – not only through encouraging cycling, but also through ethical, local and sustainable sourcing.
Mark Drury, Director, SPUD said:
“this is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work by all the team involved. The support from the local authorities, local businesses and individuals has been truly incredible and without it we could not have reached this point. It’s been a fantastic journey working with all the team and in particular the young people. SPUD believes passionately in enabling young people to make take an active role in their community and make a real difference.”
Heather Evans, Director, Bespoke Biking said:
“We are passionate about encouraging and helping everybody, no matter what their age or ability, to cycle. After over five years of dreaming, planning and building, the Handlebar Café is now a reality. We are so excited and proud to see it complete and open for business in its beautiful Winchester setting. Alongside our main Bike Hub in the centre of town, we are delighted to offer the Handlebar Café as a fantastic destination to walk or ride to. We can’t wait for people to come and taste our great coffee, cakes and locally sourced sausage rolls, pies and pastries.
“Our aspiration is for the Handlebar Café to become a focal point for the local community and visitors, helping everyone appreciate the area’s fantastic natural environment. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership work with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to help enhance the area and encourage the public to come and enjoy everything that this wonderful beauty spot has to offer.”
Accsys is committed to sustainability for the built environment, and is pleased to support this unique project by some potential architects of the future.
Find out more about Accsys at www.accsysplc.com
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