CAMPAIGNERS who fought to save a volunteer-run cafe at Wharfedale Hospital are celebrating a compromise solution.

Although the cafe itself will close hospital bosses have agreed to allow a mobile tea and coffee trolley

The Royal Voluntary Service - formerly WRVS - has been providing refreshments at the modern hospital, and the previous building, for decades.

But that tradition seemed set to come to an end when Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust told helpers the facility would close on March 31.

Thousands of people signed a petition calling for the cafe to stay open, and the town’s MP Alex Sobel met with both sides to see if a solution could be found.

Mr Sobel was told the contract with the RVS finished at the end of March and the trust could not continue with the site which cost between £15,000 and £20,000 per year in upkeep.

After meeting with the RVS and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust Mr Sobel said: “The volunteers and the wider Otley community were very disappointed at the news of this closure. Whilst I accept that this decision is unlikely to be overturned in its entirety, it is important that the hospital continues to retain the much-loved service provided by the volunteers.

“I am very pleased that the Trust has confirmed plans to run a mobile trolley service. This will not only allow for the service to be retained, albeit not from the site, but will also provide greater access to tea and coffee facilities for those with mobility issues. Every volunteer will be offered this. Volunteers will also be offered the opportunity to facilitate a meet and greet service at the hospital.

“It was clear that both organisations have been working together to find a more sustainable solution. Volunteers are a vital part of our NHS locally and nationally. It is good that there will be a positive outcome to this situation.”

Craige Richardson, Director of Estates and Facilities at the Trust said: “It was great to be able to meet with Alex to discuss our proposals for Wharfedale Hospital. We appreciate the work that is put in by the volunteers at the hospital and that is why we will be working with them to provide a mobile trolley service, as well as meet and greet. All profits from this service as well as from the restaurant will be put back into the trust and spent improving patient care.”

Volunteer Ann Walker who started the petition to save the cafe said they would now be running the trolley service for the Trust and not the RVS

She said she and fellow volunteers were “more than pleased” with the news, adding: “We can not thank Alex enough for the amount of time he has spent getting us to this point. Many thanks also to the 3,200 people who signed our petition,either in the tea bar, on the streets of Otley and also online.”