A growing gardens rooms company has doubled its output in the past year and is now working on its biggest project so far – a new cafe for a pet rescue centre.
The building at North Clwyd Animal Rescue (NCAR) centre marks a successful year for Rubicon Garden Rooms, which is based near Chester.
The firm, founded by former Airbus engineer John Lyon, has seen a 100 per cent increase in output compared to the previous 12 months, and taken on more staff to deal with an increasing number of orders for its zero maintenance buildings.
A generous donation from a dog lover has funded the cafe at NCAR, at Trelogan, near Holywell, which will provide tea and snacks to staff and volunteers as well as visitors looking to adopt a rescue pet.
Animal lover Doris Davies from Kinmel Bay, who once served up tea to spooks cracking the WWII Enigma code, left more than £36,000 in her will for the Flintshire centre. Doris, who was 95 when she died, wanted to say thanks for her pet dogs, an Irish terrier and a poodle, which she adopted from NCAR.
Work has now begun on the new 600 sq ft cafe, which will also host volunteer training sessions and fund-raising events.
The centre is already receiving donations of equipment for the cafe from its supporters and is appealing for more items to ensure it can open in the New Year.
The main timber framework of the building is complete, along with the roof, ready for cladding to take place. This will be followed by the internal fit out with kitchen and dining areas, said John, who has also given the charity a substantial discount on the overall cost.
He said: “The cafe will be a great addition to the centre, and I can see that it is very much needed, as the staff and volunteers presently have a very cramped area in which to relax.
“Every one of our garden rooms is bespoke, and so each site presents its own challenges – and this one certainly has. However, we have worked closely with the team at NCAR and we are progressing very much on schedule.
“Visitors will be able to see how the new cafe is shaping up, and I hope they return in the New Year once it is open.”
In the past year Rubicon has constructed 25 garden rooms for customers, including contracts in Bristol, London and Halifax, although the majority of its clients are within a 50 miles radius of the firm’s base on the border between Chester and Deeside..
Its bespoke, top-of-the-range modular buildings, manufactured at its factory, are used as home offices, art, music and yoga studios, sewing rooms, home cinemas, swimming spas, hot tub enclosures and hobby or games rooms.
They can also be teenage dens or annexes for older relatives, as the company can add bathroom and kitchen facilities.
There is growing interest from business owners, consultants and home-workers for garden offices that can be used year round, well insulated and fully-networked to provide fast connections to the internet.
John added: “We are continuing to get plenty of interest from customers for our buildings, for a variety of uses. People hear about us, often through family and friends, and start thinking how they can use space in their garden to extend easily, such as for a home office or a hobby room.
“We have never been so busy – we have doubled the number of garden rooms that we have built, and I am hoping that we will be able to increase our output in 2017.
“We have also taken on a new apprentice, who is studying part-time at Coleg Cambria, as well as other staff to ensure that we fulfil orders and can continue to meet customer demand.”
NCAR fund-raising manager Nicky Owen, whose parents Anne and Neil run the centre, said: “It’s been exciting seeing the cafe take shape, and I can’t wait until we can officially open it, and our staff and volunteers have somewhere pleasant to relax.
“John and his team worked very closely with us on the design of the building, and help us to meet the planning requirements. As the work has progressed we have been kept fully informed and been able to discuss every aspect with John. I am full of praise for his level of customer service.
“I am delighted that we chose Rubicon, as a Flintshire firm, to construct the cafe, and we are also very grateful to John for the extra discount he has given us. As a charity, it’s important that every pound is spent in the most effective way.
“The building will be very well insulated, which means our running costs will be low, and we liked Rubicon’s green approach, which has limited the amount of concrete that was used.”
“We have already received donations of equipment for the cafe. However, we would be very grateful if for more items, including commercial catering equipment, cafe tables and chairs.”
Nicky added staff and volunteers at NCAR had been overwhelmed at Doris’ donation, which was handed over by the pensioner’s twin grandsons, Glynn and David.
“We are delighted and so thankful to people like Doris. It’s not very often that we get a legacy left to us on this scale and we are overwhelmed with joy,” she said.
“We have more than 120 dogs on site on a daily basis, 150 cats and 20 rabbits and our costs are in excess of £1,000 a day. Donations like these make a huge difference.
“Doris’ legacy will create a wonderful place for people to spend time here and for our volunteers.”
More details at rubicongardenrooms.co.uk or call 01244 552813