Ceres pop-up cafe serving up job skills

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A new pop-up cafe operated by people with learning disabilities and additional support needs is to launch in Ceres.

Options in Life, a Fife-based charity, will run out of the Village Cafe on Wednesdays, when the cafe is usually closed.

The cafe had a test launch on Wednesday, as the volunteer staff got to grips with running the cafe and welcomed their first customers.

The aim of the pop-up cafe project is to support people with learning disabilities and additional support needs, giving them valuable experience which could help them gain confidence and secure work in the future.

“This is about bringing in service users to volunteer and get new experiences, so they can go out and get a job in catering or in a cafe,” explained programme co-ordinator Rob Burns.

“The people who are in here now are at the stage where they need something else, they want to work and have been inspired to get a job.

“They just need a bit of support to get there. The cafe gives them confidence to work with the public and gives them the skills to work in a cafe or a restaurant.

“Also, the volunteers have shown an interest in cafe or restaurant work, so we are giving them experience they can put on the CV and then we’re going to support them to get employment or volunteer work elsewhere.

“Today has been a really good day. We feel ready now and are so excited. We hope people along and support us. This is a safe, welcoming environment for everyone.”

While the project aims to help some of the users get into work, Rob said that some employers were still hesitant about hiring someone with additional support needs or a learning disability.

“There are a lot of employers in Fife that have supported roles for people with learning disabilities or additional support needs, but there are a lot of employers that don’t and don’t know how to cope.

“It’s not a lot of support these individuals need, but they do need some extra support, and we just want to make sure we give them the best possible start to get a job.

“We need to give them help so that they can go into a role and know what they need to ask for, if they need help, how they can ask for help.

“We’re working with employers to get a support network set up.”

As well as running the new pop-up cafe, Options in Life also has a recreational group that gives it users new experiences and tries to develop friendships.

There is also a peer support project where the service users help each other to build skills for employment.

The organisation is also working with the Sunshine Kitchen on the cafe. The Cupar-based kitchen project for young adults with additional support needs, is providing home-made bread, soup, jams and chutneys each week, made by their service users.

For more details about the group, search for Options in Life on Facebook.