Successful first year for Rushden cafe

Unity Cafe celebrating its first anniversary of the teaching project for adults with learning difficulties
Unity Cafe celebrating its first anniversary of the teaching project for adults with learning difficulties

A cafe run by adults with learning disabilities is coming up to its first anniversary.

The Unity cafe was launched last autumn by Northamptonshire County Council to help adults aged between 19 and 64 who have learning disabilities to develop new skills and gain qualifications as part of a course called Unity.

More than 30 adults have been involved in the running of the cafe this year and there are only a few places left for people who want to sign up to next year’s course.

Curriculum co-ordinator Michelle Chadbon, who helps run the course, said: “The first year has been really good and the Unity learners have worked really hard at the cafe.

“The learners have developed new skills and are gaining qualifications and work experience which has helped them to build their independence and potentially find work.

“We’ve already got people who have either taken up jobs or voluntary employment as a result of taking part in the course.

“The cafe is self-funding and the customers really enjoy coming here. We would love it if even more people came along to see us.”

As well as preparing and serving the food at the cafe the learners have also taken part in a number of other work placements, including taking on roles at schools, lunch groups, churches and Rushden & Higham United Football Club.

Those who have been involved in the cafe this year include Sarah Ellis, 26, of Rushden. She said: “I’ve enjoyed everything. I liked working in the kitchen and have gained new skills.”

Tom Upton, 52, of Wellingborough, added: “I’ve really enjoyed working here. It has helped me to make new friends and I’ve got much better at cooking. It has helped to boost my confidence.”

The cafe is based at Rushden & Higham United Football Club in Hayden Road, Rushden.

It sells drinks, salads, sandwiches, baguettes, toasties, cakes, jacket potatoes and other hot snacks. It also has a children’s menu, can provide catering and customers can pre-order food.

Anyone who wants to find out more about the cafe and its opening hours, or who wants to join a future Unity course, can call 07834 006313.