A St Andrews café that works with offenders and people with additional needs has been nominated for a major parliamentary award.
Lisa Cathro’s Zest café in South Street has been listed by MP Stephen Gethins for the All-Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group ‘Responsible Business Champions’ scheme.
Since taking over the café Lisa has grown the business and also started a training company, Zest Training.
She is working with charity Springboard to give a group of prisoners at HMP Castle Huntly Open prison the opportunity to gain qualifications and practical experience in coffee barista skills.
As well as training sessions in the prison, Lisa, along with other local coffee shops, has given the trainees work experience opportunities.
Now Mr Gethins wants parliament to recognise Zest’s high level of social responsibility it demonstrates both within the local community and further afield.
“Zest prides itself on being an integral part of the community in St Andrews as well as working across Fife and Tayside and I’m delighted to be able to put them forward for this award.
“Within the Zest team many employees have had barriers to employment, the most common being mental health issues. However, because Zest offers a supported environment where issues are recognised and dealt with positively, there is practically no sickness absence.
“In addition, two members of team have learning difficulties and with support in their workplace, are doing very well.”
Lisa herself is delighted with the award nomination, but even more happy to see the success of “the boys” as she calls them.
“It’s great to see how much the trainees from Castle Huntly have enjoyed our training and I hope it will help them when they are released from prison,” she said.
“Zest has run work placements in 10 week blocks for Fife Council Supported Employment working with people with additional needs.
Zest has also delivered placements for Enable Scotland, Springboard, xtra Mile, and the DWP and won Diversity Awards, Employer of the Year and SDS Modern Apprenticeship Awards
And as if she wasn’t busy enough running two Zest outlets and the training company, Lisa has also recently been elected to the board of St Andrews Business Improvement District. She also represents the private sector on the Health & Disabilities group with Fife Council.
Next month, Zest will also be supporting working in partnership with the University of St Andrews to make St Andrews a dementia friendly community.