A 40 ft shipping container is set to become a new café and events centre in a south Manchester park under plans hatched by a local charity.

Kerry and Nat, a couple in the Levenshulme area, set up Grounded MCR in 2021 intending to support the career development of young people and help those off work with anxiety return to employment. Their community work has included selling coffee and cakes from a yellow trike in the district’s Cringle Park and also Platt Fields in nearby Rusholme.

However, having seen the ways others have managed to convert shipping containers for all sorts of new purposes, they now want to turn one they have just bought into a café and events centre in Cringle Park.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Nat said this particular container was attractive because it has already been used as a café, commenting: “It is dark green and I just felt like it would be perfect for a park space.”

She added: “I got in touch with the council and immediately began to think about how we could do it up, like by putting grass walls around it with bug and bee hotels.”

The design would include elements like a barista area for people to train to do the job for a living – possibly in partnership with a local college – plus a zero-waste shop and a rooftop vegetable patch. 

Meals will be created from what would otherwise become food waste going into landfill. The plan comes after a previous idea of converting an old school bus for a similar purpose fell through.

It won’t be the only recycled shipping container offering food or containing a shop in Manchester; there is a whole cluster of them at Hatch in the city centre. 

But while that may be an attraction for foodies, shoppers and people on a night out, the proposed scheme in Levenshulme will have a deeper purpose and could become a major focal point for the community.

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