Officials at a community group, which transformed a town's old Victorian cottage hospital into affordable homes and a community hub, is celebrating after hitting the national spotlight once more.

SouthGen, which owns and operates Southwold's Old Hospital Hub, was recently honoured with a national award - after winning the Plunkett Foundation's annual Rural Vision Volunteering Award.

And there was further "exciting news" for The Old Hospital Hub/Southgen in Southwold this week as its community cafe, The Canteen, is set to be showcased on a forthcoming edition of the BBC 2 show, Rick Stein's Food Stories.

Lowestoft Journal: Rick Stein's Food Stories. Picture: BBCRick Stein's Food Stories. Picture: BBC (Image: BBC)

The new 15-episode series starts on BBC 2 at 6.30pm next Monday, February 12 - with The Canteen hosting a visit from one of the UK's most-loved TV chefs set to be featured on February 21.

With Rick Stein travelling the length and breadth of the UK for 'Food Stories', his national tour took him to Southwold.

A SouthGen spokesman said: "Shine TV, which produced the series, filmed our then head chef Nicola Hordern making a chard and St Jude curd savoury tart.

"All of its ingredients were produced by East Suffolk farmers practicing regenerative farming techniques."

Lowestoft Journal: The Canteen, in Southwold, sign. Picture: SouthGenThe Canteen, in Southwold, sign. Picture: SouthGen (Image: SouthGen)

Nicola Hordern said: "I was terrified at the prospect of being filmed but the crew were so kind and Rick seemed so interested in the way that The Canteen is defying conventional wisdom by combining a commercial fine dining experience with an inclusive community offer."

'Such a dedicated team'

Open five days a week on a commercial basis, The Canteen also provides a monthly Sunday Community Lunch on a 'Pay What You Can Afford' basis and soon will be piloting a free Weekly Family Tea Club - where families can get a hot meal after school while children can receive tuition in art, maths and reading.

Nicola, who had to sadly resign as head chef in September 2023 due to ill health, has seen her successor, Lindsay Wright, just as committed to The Canteen’s food and community vision.

Lowestoft Journal: Lindsay Wright. Picture: Julie CarpenterLindsay Wright. Picture: Julie Carpenter (Image: Julie Carpenter)

For its February menu, Lindsay - who will be making the savoury tart featured in 'Rick Stein’s Food Stories' - revealed that the tart’s "secret ingredient" is a crust made with pea flour grown in East Anglia and milled by Hodmedod of Beccles.

SouthGen Chair, Jessica Jeans, said: "For a small charity like ours to receive this level of national recognition is testimony to the hard work and commitment of every person on our staff, our volunteers, and our management committee.

"We are truly blessed in having such a dedicated team."

The Canteen is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 4 pm.

The next Sunday Community Lunch will be held on March 1 - email to book places.

The Canteen also holds a monthly fine dining club.

To book places for the February 29 Supper Club, email