Pottergate Centre

Pottergate Centre

About our centre

The Pottergate Centre is situated nearby Alnwick town centre, close to the shops and local facilities, which are easily accessed on foot. The building is all on one level with numerous accessible, light and airy rooms that also include accessible bathrooms. Rooms consist of:
  • two working kitchens
  • a large dining room
  • a well-equipped computer suite
  • music room
  • sessional rooms
  • physiotherapy room
  • a sensory room
Outside there is an established sensory garden, the potting shed, two allotments, a large polytunnel and four greenhouses. We have a policy to hire out our rooms to different groups within the local community.

During holidays and weekends throughout summer, we run a small café, The Buffet Stop, at the Aln Valley Railway – a newly established heritage railway on the outskirts of Alnwick. This gives clients who work within Pottergate Pantry, and other clients who would like to be involved, a chance to receive training and work experience.

There is a keyworker system at the Pottergate Centre where each person has a named member of staff they can approach in confidence and who will assist the clients on a day-to-day basis, ensuring each person is properly represented within the service and assisting with the individual’s choices, such as their timetables, where they choose the activities they would like to do.

Equally, all clients have an individual care plan that reflects their particular needs and they have two reviews of their service at the Pottergate centre each year in conjunction with care management, other professionals, carers and parents.

Clients who access Pottergate need to be referred by Northumbria Health Care Trust’s care management team. Our clients are adults with learning disabilities, including clients with sensory and physical disabilities.

Pottergate Pantry

We have, over a number of years, developed a catering business called Pottergate Pantry. The pantry provides upwards of 50 meals per day for everyone at the centre and offers a wide range to choose from. The catering is divided between the main kitchen, where the savoury products are made, and the green kitchen, where all of the cakes, biscuits and tray bakes are made.

This initially began as a frozen food venture, but we now supply a number of outlets in the community including frozen meals, cakes and tray bakes, which can all be purchased daily from the Pottergate centre.

Hot meals are provided to approximately 15 people who live in the Anchor housing association three days a week and we also provide Branton first school hot meals during term time.

Tray bakes, cakes and biscuits are provided weekly to:
  • The Hepscott Café, Morpeth
  • The Crux Café, Sunderland
  • The Stable Yard Nursery, Craster
The pantry also provides the buffets each year for the ‘Battle of Britain’ parade and the Armistice Day parade. During the Alnwick flower show, the pantry provided tea, coffee and biscuits.

Our kitchens are awarded five stars on the “scores on the doors”.

Pottergate Pantry and the Potting Shed are part of the Made in Northumberland brand, which brings together all the businesses that are established in our Northumberland County Council learning disabilities day services.

The Potting Shed

The Potting Shed is a growing gardening business with approximately nine clients who plant ‘plugs’, grow plants and vegetables including onions, beetroot, beans and soft fruit bushes for jam that are prepared by Pottergate Pantry to be eaten either in house, or sold.

They are also responsible for the floral displays around the centre to enhance and brighten the external areas of the centre. This year, they had an experimental idea to grow small Christmas trees to increase the seasonal range, which includes wreaths and table decorations. We also represent Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day on our sales front.

In 2013 and 2014, the gardeners won awards in Britain in Bloom, having been nominated by Alnwick in Bloom and Northumberland in Bloom.

The Rhythm Stix

The Rhythm Stix are a group of drummers within the centre who have proven to be extremely popular. The group work extremely hard to produce a unique sound that has proven a hit with the public. For the past three years, they have taken part in the Alnwick International Music Festival and at the Alnwick Playhouse and Garden. They have also taken part in workshops at other day centres within Northumberland, to both entertain and give others a chance to drum.

Activities on offer

  • sensory sessions
  • physiotherapy and armchair exercises
  • The Potting Shed
  • Pottergate Pantry
  • Leisure activities including Wii, bowls, boccia and curling
  • The Rhythm Stix – drumming
  • therapeutic music
  • computer sessions
  • pamper sessions
  • My Life
  • healthy living
  • Pottergate action team (PAT) and newsletter (The Centreline)
  • partnership board
  • Northumberland Echo
  • League of Friends
  • Alnwick Infirmary
  • Alnwick International Music Festival

Outreach services

There are two outreach services run by the centre, at Rothbury and Amble. Each outreach is based in a community venue in each village and runs two days per week.

The clients living in each respective area go to these outreaches to receive their day service instead of travelling into Alnwick.

There are dedicated teams who work at the outreaches and strive to use the local community as a basis for their work and to develop community links.

Each group has developed links within their own communities and have taken part in a number of local activities.

Complex care service

This service was created to meet the needs of two clients with complex care needs and who require a nursing service. Two nurses lead a team of care staff who work with clients to provide a safe and stimulating day service.


The team consists of:
  • care supervisors
  • care workers
  • administrative staff
  • service manager
  • assistant managers
All staff are trained in statutory/mandatory courses, as required by the policies of Northumberland County Council. Each role has specific training in NVQ/QCF or equivalent. At the Pottergate centre, we aim to facilitate a variety of social, educational, therapeutic and employment opportunities for each individual. Our aim is to enable clients to broaden their life experiences and individual choices. We aim to enable clients to be part of the community that they live in by using local facilities that are available, thus promoting inclusion.

The Pottergate centre incorporates the service principles of privacy, dignity, respect, choice, independence and fulfilment. These principles are the basis on which we develop and implement our aims and objectives.

Contact details

Stephanie Stafford – service manager
Email: Stephanie.Stafford@northumberland.gov.uk

Barbara Turner - assistant manager
Email: Barbara.Turner@northumberland.gov.uk

Lesley Rourke - assistant manager
Email: Lesley.Rourke@northumberland.gov.uk
Telephone: 01665 602181

Website: http://www.thepottergatecentre.org.uk/

Opening times

  • Monday – Thursday (9am – 4.30pm)
  • Friday (9am – 4pm)


  • transport - £1 per journey
  • meals – £2.50 per meal