A new social enterprise cafe in Bexhill is helping to make a difference by employing people with learning disability.
Strive Café opened in Sackville Road in early December and is proving to be really popular.
There has been significant interest and support for the mission of Strive Café from specialists in disability and the general public, as well as excellent social media reviews (100 per cent five star to date) on the café’s staff, ambience and food.
The mission of Strive Café is to enhance the lives of individuals with disability through purposeful paid employment in a quality and good-value café for customers.
Director Mary Briggs said: “We believe that adults with learning difficulty and disability deserve the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential and lead fulfilling lives. Our café wants to accelerate the availability of paid employment for individuals with additional needs. The ‘work empowering ability’ vision benefits from current national interest and commitment to increase disability employment opportunities.”
One of the recommendations said: “Brilliant cafe. Lovely people and awesome cake.” while another reviewer said: “Lovely, friendly cafe, giving people with learning disabilities a chance of employment.” Another said: “The staff are fantastic - such a great ethos behind it.”
Mary Briggs added: Our vision is supported by government policy: statistics show that currently less than 6% of adults with learning disability are in employment. In May 2019 a government target was set to increase disability employment 16% by 2027. Those who are employed often find it an
isolating experience with limited understanding of their special needs from employers.
“Cafés providing work experience and voluntary roles for individuals with special needs have proved successful in many organisations. Strive
Café builds on the success of these enterprises, but where it differs and is unique is by providing permanent contracts and paid work.
“Offering a fulfilling work environment promotes emotional well-being and increased independence. Support by experts enable the assistants to break down barriers and achieve their potential.
“All assistants are treated as professionals and unique individuals with their own programme of development and career pathway. For most assistants, working in the café is their first opportunity to be paid employees.
Strive Café is based at 8 sackville Road, Bexhill, and is open Monday - Friday 8.30am - 3.30pm and Saturday 10am - 5pm.