Yearly Archives: 2017

It’s all go at Café Connect

The Acklam Green Centre’s catering team have continued to be kept busy preparing food for numerous business and celebration events in recent weeks, as well as for members of the public using Café Connect. 

The team has recruited an extra pair of hands in the form of 20-year-old Shannon Doley who was appointed as Catering Apprentice in November to help manage the increased demand. Shannon is settling in well and is providing valuable support to the team to aid the smooth running of the catering function.

Donna Smith, facilities manager at Acklam Green Centre, said: “We pride ourselves on providing superb catering services to compliment our excellent meeting, office and event facilities. The team has been very busy recently providing clients with a range of catering options from breakfast buffers to a hot and cold lunch menus and afternoon tea which is testament to the high standards we maintain.

“Shannon is proving to be a welcome addition to the team at this busy time and we look forward to supporting her with her career development through the apprenticeship programme.”

There has been lots going on at both venues since our last newsletter and things are showing no sign of slowing down before we take our annual Christmas break. Bookings have continued to see an upward trend, the office space at Acklam Green Centre has become fully occupied and groups running a variety of activities from both facilities continue to provide plenty of things to do for the local community. We hope you enjoy reading about our latest news and a fantastic January offer. We’d like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year and we look forward to seeing you in 2018!

For further information about catering at Acklam Green Centre contact 01642 811 137.

GOAL launches at business centre to teach children life lessons

A new business has launched in Middlesbrough to provide important life and financial education lessons to primary school children. Game of Actual Life (GOAL) has set up from the Acklam Green Centre, taking the office space at the purpose-built facility to full capacity.

GOAL, a not-for-profit community interest company, is the brainchild of duo Simon Carson, who already runs a successful Sports Schools business from the facility, and Anne-Marie Carson who boasts 28 years’ experience in teaching, including as a deputy head and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator in large primary school.  

Simon and Anne-Marie had identified a need to provide children with the opportunity to gain confidence with money in everyday situations, while giving them invaluable life skills which will stay with them into their adult life.  The GOAL programme has been developed to covers five key areas comprising: Keep in Credit, covering the basics of money management, where the tricky aspects of maths are given a real life focus as children manage their ‘GOAL’ bank accounts, mortgages and pensions; Keep Learning, focusing on soft skills such as social communication, a positive attitude and dealing with people; Keep Fit, covering exercise and nutrition; Keep Calm, which is focused on mental wellbeing and provides an opportunity to practice mindfulness; and Keep Safe which permeates through every element of the programme, concentrating on strategies for children to take into adulthood to protect them both online and in the real world.

The GOAL programme covers a wide range of topics ranging from buying a car to mortgages and buying a house, all of which are delivered in a practical way while supporting maths and English and other Key stage 1 and 2 subjects.  The bespoke programme can be delivered across the school year or for shorter durations including a GOAL in a Day option. 

Anne-Marie Carson, Business Development Manager at GOAL, said: “The Game Of Actual Life plugs a gap in the market for a dedicated programme that teaches important life lessons about how to handle money and how to live a happier, healthier life. It provides the opportunity for application of basic skills taught at school and is delivered in a fun and engaging way.

“The programme aims to provide experience of everyday adult life such as getting a job and paying bills and can impact on the children's appreciation of why it's important to do well in school.  The feedback we are already receiving from parents is that their children are more understanding about money, and teachers enjoy being able to refer to GOAL during maths and other curriculum subjects.”

GOAL has already been delivered in over 100 schools in Middlesbrough, the company’s heartland, across the wider Tees Valley area and into North Yorkshire.  Simon and Anne-Marie, supported by four other delivery staff and a board of directors made up of representatives from education, public health, the police and fitness and nutrition experts, are already planning for further growth, however the business remains committed to expanding from the Acklam Green Centre.

Simon Carson commented: “I am delighted with the growth the Acklam Green Centre enabled our Sports Schools to achieve, so I had no hesitation in establishing GOAL from the centre too. We benefit from access to the excellent meeting and conference rooms, sports facilities and of course fantastic office space, providing us with all of the facilities we need under one roof.  What’s more, the centre is in an accessible location that supports our planned expansion across the region and beyond.  We are already getting excellent feedback about GOAL from some of the top Ofsted rated schools and are receiving enquiries from across the UK and even overseas. The potential is vast.”

GOAL and Simon Carson Sports School jointly employ 39 people from the Acklam Green Centre, a figure which is due to increase in the coming months. The businesses occupy four ground floor offices, taking the centre to full capacity.

Donna Smith, facilities manager for Acklam Green Centre, said: “We are really pleased to welcome Game of Actual Life to the Acklam Green Centre. This unique business, which is teaching primary school children important life lessons, has huge expansion potential and we are delighted to be able to support the team with their exciting growth plans in place by providing them with a professional business environment.” 

For further information about the Game of Actual Life (GOAL) call 07966767284, email: .

Acklam Green Centre provides a range of office space options from part-time ‘hot desking’ and ‘co-working’ to permanent desks and private office space. It also provides first-class meeting rooms, conference and events facilities, and football pitches for hire to businesses across Tees Valley as well as the local community. For further information call 01642 811120, email or visit

Acklam Green Centre activity timetable

The Acklam Green Centre has a packed calendar of activities that take place each week, ranging from Slimming World groups to meditation and mindfulness sessions and performing arts classes. We’ve produced a handy new timetables so that members of the public can find out what’s happening here in their local community with ease.

AGCTimetable Final Nov 17

If you’re looking for a base to run your activity; whether it’s a fitness class, art class or something completely different, we still have plenty of slots available throughout the week and our versatile space means we’re confident we can meet your needs. To enquire, get in touch via 01642 811137.

Acklam Green Centre welcomes new catering recruits

The Acklam Green Centre has welcomed two new members of staff to its in-house catering team.

Melanie Owen has joined the Middlesbrough based business and community centre as full-time café/ catering supervisor bringing over 25 years’ experience in the catering industry to the role.

Melanie, who lives in Middlesbrough close to Acklam Green Centre, has spent most of her career in a school environment, most recently at Macmillan Academy. She is now responsible for running a busy kitchen and coordinating the catering service for clients of up to 150 people using the centre for business meetings, conferences and events, as well as running Café Connect, which is open to the public as well as staff and tenants based in the centre.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to the new challenge of the supervisor role at Acklam Green Centre having spent many years working in school kitchens. The centre has an excellent catering offer and I intend to maintain our strong reputation with centre clients and members of the public alike.”

Megan Coakley has also joined the team as café/ catering assistant to support with an increased demand for café and catering services on weekends. Megan will undertake the role on a part-time basis while studying for her A-levels at Macmillan Academy.

The appointments coincide with an enhanced catering offer from Café Connect which has extended its catering menus in recent menus and has reinforced its commitment to the promotion of healthy eating, resulting in the business being awarded Middlesbrough Council’s Food4Health Gold Award.

Donna Smith, facilities manager at Acklam Green Centre, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Melanie and Megan to the Acklam Green Centre team as we continue to improve and expand our catering offer. Melanie brings a wealth of experience in the catering industry and Megan is already showing a lot of enthusiasm for the new role, so they’re both welcome additions to the team.”

For further information about Café Connect and the Acklam Green Centre contact tel: 01642 811 121 or email:

Café Connect goes for gold with healthy eating award

The Acklam Green Centre has received an award for its contribution to the health and wellbeing of local people.

Café Connect, located in the atrium of the Middlesbrough based business and community centre, has been awarded Middlesbrough Borough Council’s Food4Health Gold Award which recognises and rewards food businesses that offer healthy food options and promote healthy eating.

The awards consider the types of foods and ingredients used by restaurants, cafes and other venues where food is consumed, such as school and college canteens, across the Borough.  Food4Health also takes into account how food is prepared and cooked, and how the business goes about promoting their offer.

Café Connect provides catering menus for clients using Acklam Green Centre’s meeting and events facilities and it also provides an eat-in and take-away service for the centre’s tenants and members of the public.  Over the past few months it has reinforced its commitment to healthy eating by switching to low salt, cutting out dressings, using low fat products such as mayonnaise and margarine instead of butter, offering small portions and using spray oils and low fat milk.   The changes follow the introduction of revamped menus in January and a three month period where customer feedback was encouraged, which also influenced the changes.

At the end of 2016 both the Acklam Green Centre and its sister venue the Resource Centre, which also benefits from Café Connect’s catering offer, became ‘breastfeeding welcome’ venues which also helped contribute to the award.

Donna Smith, facilities manager at Acklam Green Centre, said: “We already had good menu offerings for both the café and in-house catering but in line with the award guidelines and in response to customer feedback we have now added some healthier options to give people a choice.

“We’re delighted to have achieved Food4Health Gold which recognises our continued commitment to the promotion of healthy eating and will continue to work towards the principles and respond to customer feedback.”

Laura Kemp, Public Health Officer at Middlesbrough Council, who oversees the Food4Health programme, said: “The Gold Award recognises the commitment made by food outlets to ensure the food available is nutritionally balanced, allowing customers to make fully informed food choices.

“Acklam Green Centre is one of many businesses across Middlesbrough that have embraced the Food4Health scheme and I’ve been impressed with their commitment to the promotion of healthy eating.”

Food4Health comprises three awards: Bronze, Silver and Gold.  Each award considers the types of foods and ingredients used, how food is prepared and cooked, and how the business promotes healthy eating. Awards are free and businesses working towards achieving an award receive advice and support on nutrition and healthy catering practices.

For further information about Café Connect and the Acklam Green Centre contact tel: 01642 811 121 or email:

Talented youngsters perform Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’

The Acklam Green Centre welcomed over a hundred children and young people from 11 local schools for a performance of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’.

The Year 1 to Year 10 pupils, aged five to fifteen, are from the Middlesbrough Associate Schools.  The group comprises of: Archibald Primary School as Lead School, Abingdon Primary School, Acklam Grange School, Acklam Whin Primary, Berwick Hills Primary, Breckon Hill Primary School, Newport Primary School, Macmillan Academy, Priory Woods School and Arts College, St Thomas More RC Primary and Thorntree Primary.

As part of the Royal Shakespeare Company Associate Schools Project, which is aimed at embedding Shakespeare in education, the participating schools each brought to life a section of the 400 year-old comedy, set on a remote island and revolving around a major act of betrayal and a plot of revenge.   The young thespians took part in two performances to packed audiences in Acklam Green Centre’s large conference hall.

Anita Jefferies, Head Teacher at Archibald Primary School, which led the project, said: “The Royal Shakespeare Company is committed to partnering with Middlesbrough Schools.  The training and support they provide gives pupils amazing opportunities and improves their overall confidence.   Through the Associate Schools Programme, three pupils have now been selected to train with the Royal Shakespeare Company.   It is wonderful that we have the facilities at the Acklam Green Centre to host a festival of this size.”

The performances were attended by families of the children and guests from the local community, including some of the team from Actes.  Sandra Phillips, Chief Executive commented: “All of the performers were absolutely fantastic. To see children as young as five bring to life a Shakespearean classic was really impressive.  We all thoroughly enjoyed it.”

The Acklam Green Centre offers versatile facilities ideal for business events, conference and meetings as well as a base for many community and activity groups.

Sandra added: “It was great to see Acklam Green Centre’s Conference Hall being utilised as a performance space as its’ state-of-the-art soundproofing, sound and light equipment and fully racked seating mean it is ideal for theatrical performances of this kind and we hope to see more local schools and theatre groups making use of the facilities.”

For further information about the Acklam Green Centre contact 01642 811 121.

Corporate events packages at AGC

Acklam Green Centre is hosting Team Building and Corporate Days starting from £35 per person after teaming up with leading events companies offering archery and Bubble Football.

The packages include full event management, hire of meeting room and sports facilities and lunchtime catering and refreshments courtesy of in-house caterers Café Connect. As well as the fixed price packages, which incorporate sporting activity with the experts from North East Archery and Combat and Bubble Football North East, bespoke packages can be arranged upon request.

Donna Smith, facilities manager at Acklam Green Centre, said: “Our unique facilities incorporating professional meeting space, in-house catering and on-site sports pitches mean we’re ideally placed to deliver team building and corporate days.

“We’re pleased to team up with leading events companies as we get set to welcome businesses from across the area over the coming months.”

Members of staff from Actes, which owns Acklam Green Centre and the Resource Centre, recently took part in an archery session to try out the teambuilding activity for themselves. The event also supported Actes’ work towards the North East Better Health at Work programme designed to improve the health and wellbeing of the organisation’s workforce.

For further information about the corporate packages please call 01642 811 137.

New training and conference suite

The second-floor meeting space at the Acklam Green Centre has been transformed into a large private training and conference suite that can comfortably accommodate up to 60 people in a variety of room layouts.

The suite is completely self-contained with its own kitchen and toilets and is proving popular with business and consumer customers alike, including the local Slimming World group which uses the facility two nights a week.

Donna Smith, Facilities Manager at the Acklam Green Centre, said: “We continue to listen to feedback from our customers who had highlighted a need for an additional training and conference suite to complement our meeting and conference spaces.

“The second-floor office spaces have been adapted and opened out to create one large self-contained space with its own kitchen area and toilet facilities. The room has a lovely light and airy feel and is proving really popular with customers.”

The training suite comes equipped with presentation equipment and wifi and is available to book at full-day, half-day and hourly rates. A range of in-house catering options are also available to book.

For further information about the conference, training and meeting space available at Acklam Green Centre contact 01642 811120

Mother’s Day afternoon tea at Café Connect

Café Connect is marking this Mother’s Day with a special afternoon tea event taking place on Monday 27 March.

Located within the Acklam Green Centre, Café Connect will be serving a traditional afternoon tea comprising of a selection of finger sandwiches, savoury and fruit scones served with preserve and whipped cream, homemade cupcakes, tray bakes and a choice of tea, coffee or herbal tea.

Priced at £6.50 per person or £12 for two, the afternoon tea event is a chance to treat mum just after mothering Sunday on 26 March. The event follows the introduction of afternoon tea to the Acklam Green Centre delegate catering packages which have been well received since they launched last month.

Paula Baxter, Café Connect supervisor, said: “Everyone loves an afternoon tea, especially on Mother’s Day, so we have decided to mark the occasion by hosting an event on Monday 27 March so people can treat mum or other special ladies in their life.

“We recently introduced afternoon teas to AGC’s delegate catering packages which have proved very popular, so it made sense to make this available to the wider public.

“We want to let the local community know that Café Connect is somewhere everyone can visit and enjoy, it’s not just for those attending events and meetings in centre, so this is a great opportunity to showcase our lovely café and tasty catering offer.”

The Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea will be served between 1pm and 3pm on Monday 27 March and places must be booked in advance by Wednesday 22 March, 2017.

For further information about catering packages contact 01642 811120 or email

Café Connect launches new catering menus

Our in-house caterer Café Connect has expanded its catering offer in response to customer feedback.

New Breakfast Buffet and Afternoon Tea menus have extended the range of catering packages available from Café Connect, after the team took on board feedback from visitors attending conferences, meetings and events at the Acklam Green and Resource centres.

The Breakfast Buffet includes a selection of freshly baked croissants and pastries or hearty bacon or sausage rolls along with fresh fruit and yoghurt. Priced at £3.90 per person, the menu also includes plenty of tea, coffee and orange juice.

Meanwhile, the indulgent Afternoon Tea menu represents fantastic value at £4.50 per delegate and £6 for café customers. It includes a selection of finger sandwiches, savoury and fruit scones served with preserve and whipped cream, a selection of homemade cakes or tray bakes and a choice of tea, coffee or herbal tea.

Café Connect has also extended its hot and cold buffet packages to suit customers’ needs.  The menu now includes three hot buffet options including lasagne, chicken curry and chilli as well as a deluxe hot and cold buffet including sugar baked home roast sliced ham with a selection of salads and quiche. Vegetarian options are also available.

The catering packages include additional healthy items to reflect the organisation’s commitment to the North East Better Health at Work programme, for which it has just received the Bronze Award. 

Donna Smith, facilities manager, said: “We take the views of our clients very seriously and always look for ways to adapt our offer to best meet their needs.

“We get lots of great comments about our catering supplied by Café Connect, however, based on feedback, we thought it was time to revise our offer and introduce some new options for visitors to enjoy. The new Breakfast Buffet and Afternoon Tea menus and tasty new additions to our hot and cold buffets are already proving very popular.”

For further information about catering packages contact 01642 811120 or email