The Courtyard Cafe – Serving Up Outcomes
Across the country, adult day services have been changing. This may be due to cuts, but also due to the increasing drive to make services more person centred and innovative. Traditionally, adult day centres have been places for people to socialise, participate in group activities and receive support. Day Centres provide a valuable service for vulnerable people, but it is important that people with disabilities also have a ‘real life’ experience. They should have the same opportunities to mix with the wider community, work and relax. A lot of people with learning disabilities want to be challenged, to learn and achieve new things. Just like everyone else.
One way that Creative Support is providing opportunities for personal development is the Courtyard Café in Horsforth. When you walk into the Courtyard Café you could be walking into any high end coffee shop. However, this is a café with a difference. Most of the staff have learning disabilities, and chose to take part in the scheme to learn new skills and experience work in a supportive environment.
Members are involved in every aspect of the café, from making the food to taking orders. The participants have become more confident, independent and have learnt lots of new skills since the café opened in June 2012. The café provides a unique opportunity to break down barriers in the community and, with disability hate crime at an all time high, will help to challenge negative preconceptions. Gordon, one of the participants of the scheme told me that, “I enjoy it a lot, I like serving customers and I get to go shopping for supplies too. I agree its great fun, and I like the free lunch – with lots of smiles to go with it!”
The Courtyard Café is a step in the right direction for Adult Day Services and provides something a bit different for our service users. It also emphasizes that people with learning disabilities are valuable employees, and with the right environment are just as capable as everyone else.
If you would like to be part of this innovative service, we are looking for a Café Assistant to work with the participants to help teach them new skills. You can find the link to the job here. The café is located at 96 Town Street, Horsforth and is open Monday – Saturday.