How a Sheffield cafe which helps people with learning disabilities is looking to new things
A Sheffield venue, which raises money to help people with learning disabilities to reach their full potential, is planning to embark on new ventures at the end of the summer.
The Hidden Gem Cafe, part of independent charity WORK Ltd, is approaching its 20th anniversary, and the team is looking for ways to expand and draw in new customers.
Sarah-Jayne Field, one of the centre managers, said: “We hope to offer something different, like afternoon and fizz teas, and themed nights.
“It’s a work in progress at the moment but we want to make use of the fabulous extension we’ve got, which will be perfect for afternoon teas,” said Sarah-Jayne.
They hope to introduce them on Friday afternoons and Sundays, which will see them open on Sundays for the first time. And part of the plan is also to replace the old bistro nights which have been held in the past.
The cafe has received ‘great support from the locals’ and ‘the real mixture of customers’ over the years.
“They like to see how we’re growing and developing, and what new things we’ve got to offer,” said Sarah-Jayne.
“Our customers are quite amazed as we’re so unique – with the products we sell, the students that work here and of course the food, it’s the full package.”
Suzanne Elizabeth Cutts, a local resident, said: “We are lucky to have such a little gem on our doorstep.
“It’s a lovely, relaxing place to have a coffee and a bite to eat, with some lovely gifts on sale and smiley staff.”
WORK Ltd provide hands-on projects to people aged 16 and over with learning disabilities, which include woodwork, gardening, textiles, sport, and drama.
The products created by the students are sold online or in the cafe, but they can also get involved with the work The Hidden Gem do too.
“The students love working here. It helps with their confidence and self-esteem,” added Sarah-Jayne.
“They enjoy the hustle and bustle every day when they speak to, seat and serve the customers.
“It’s a massive asset to the charity because it allows us to show off our wonderful students.”
WORK Ltd began with just 12 students in 1995, but this number has now grown to 78 students each week.
Although Sarah-Jayne believes the cafe has expanded as much as it can, she would like to take their food offerings outside of the venue.
Whether they begin offering outside catering or hosting private events or functions, they would like to explore this avenue.
The cafe, situated on Ringinglow Road, sources its produce locally and it is freshly prepared on site every day.
Sarah-Jayne said: “Local produce is massively important to us.
“We think it’s great working with other local people and sourcing the finest products our customers want.
“They want fresh produce and to know where it’s come from, and we also feel this is essential.”
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