Plans to establish a guidance cafe at Maryport Health Services have been proposed.

The cafe would be a joint venture by Maryport Health services and the Ewanrigg Local Trust and would see an expansion in the ELT's Hug a Mug service.

The plans would see the development of an existing, unused courtyard in the middle of the Maryport surgery turned into a larger Hug a Mug space that would seat up to 30 people.

It would provide extra space for people waiting for appointments and serve as a central point for people wanting to find out about what support, services and activities are available to them in their community. There will be some outside seating with planters for warmer weather

Sharon Barnes, chairman of the Ewanrigg Local Trust says ‘’Since we started five years ago, the Ewanrigg Local Trust in response to demand and need has been committed to providing a community café in Ewanrigg.

"Maryport Health Services has proved to be the ideal location and partnership. By working together we can help signpost people to the most appropriate support for them whether it is speaking to a receptionist about appropriate services for medical need or a visit to Hug a Mug for signposting to mental health, finance or social support.

"This is not a straightforward building project and it will take us at least a year to raise the necessary funds to build the new Hug a Mug, but we’re committed to making it happen and are pleased to have submitted planning permission which is a big step forwards in this process’’.

Hug a Mug is described as "a free and friendly guidance café."

It was set up by the ELT and is presently located upstairs in the surgery. It is a place where anyone can get advice on a wide range of matters including health and well-being, housing, work, finance or family problems.

Hug a Mug Co-ordinator Ann-Marie Steel said: "This is a service which is much in demand. We have helped over 1,440 visitors since we opened 18 months ago. We are really grateful to Maryport Health Services for providing the room in which we are based, however we have quickly outgrown the space available as demand for the service has increased.’’