The Café Project was a collaboration between The Electric Theatre, Big Leaf Foundation and Lord Falafel – providing language learning, work experience and training opportunities for displaced young people.
We want the young people we support to recognise their potential and see the possibilities for their future. Our pop- up café gave them the chance to test their interests and abilities in a safe environment and gain experience for job applications or further study.
We provided training in marketing & PR, project management, food safety & hygiene, customer services and barista training. Participants then worked alongside a professional chef to run a lunch time café service.
The cafe was open to the public. Our young people aren’t always met with kindness but this project gave them the chance to interact with the local community in a safe space.
They grew in confidence, in their willingness to engage with customers and their English improved. On the last session, we complimented M on his improved language skills and he grinned widely and said, “Yeah but I’m not shy now, so it’s easy”.
We’re delighted that 2 young people also went on to find part-time paid employment based on their time at the Café Project.
This initial 'pilot' programme and ran for 7 weeks in 2019. It was so successful that we were planning to turn it into a long-term social enterprise that would become a hub for the whole community. These plans had to be put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated impact on the hospitality sector. But we hope to revisit this idea in the future.