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Doing good by just having a brew!

Doing good by just having a brew!

Just like any business, charities must be financially viable. This can include selling products and services, whether via vast trading arms such as National Trust Enterprises or smaller local social enterprises such as Paperworks. It describes itself as a business “but primarily aimed at delivering a social benefit, whilst relying on trading income for financial support”.

There are several more much-loved organisations in our District who aim to deliver a social benefit whilst generating income. These include Jenny Ruth and the Walled Garden over in Ripon, Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough and Horticap, HS4LC and Claro Enterprises in Harrogate. All make and sell goods and services which are produced by the people whom the charity exists to support, thus providing valuable work experience. Cafes often form part of their business models and next month Artizan International are set to expand their offer in this way at their premises on Oxford Street in Harrogate.

The idea has arisen from Director Susie Hart MBE’s previous experience of establishing a restaurant in Tanzania, entirely staffed by differently-able chefs, waiters and waitresses. The high quality of the food and service had a hugely positive effect on attitudes towards differently-able people in the local community and the restaurant won the Telegraph award for the “Best British Run Restaurant Overseas in the World'' three years in a row. After an initial two-year period whilst the project was being established and the staff trained, the restaurant became completely financially self-sustainable. Many trainees were also employed in other local catering businesses, something that would have been unthinkable previously.

Closer to home, the new café in Harrogate will follow a similar model, providing supported training and hands-on work experience. Once members have achieved a sufficient level of competency, they will also have placements in other businesses around the town, sensitizing local employers to their talents and employability, as well as providing them with valuable added experience.

Harrogate has a high number of eating establishments, food producers, small businesses and independent shops, all of which report that they struggle to find adequate numbers of skilled, reliable staff. With this big gap in the labour market, participants gaining work experience in the new cafe may confidently expect to be able to fill such roles once they have finished their training with Artizan.

The new café will have a Latin American influence in the menu, to reflect the charity’s connection with projects in Ecuador and Peru and all hot drinks, sugar and chocolate will be fair trade. So customers will be able to enjoy an excellent experience, whilst knowing they are supporting fair trade producers and providing training and experience for young adults with learning disabilities. 

As Susie says “At Artizan International, everyone we’re involved with is on a journey of transformation. For all our differently-able participants, locally and further afield; it's a journey from invisible to visible, from isolation to community, from the margins to the centre, from unskilled to skilled. For the communities we touch; it's a journey towards a more inclusive society, where everyone is welcomed, respected and valued as creative members of an inspiring whole”.

There are some great volunteering opportunities coming up at the new café and you can find more details of these and other similar roles via the HADCA Volunteering Directory. Or if you just need a cuppa and a cake why not check out the various excellent cafes run by our brilliant local charities and you’ll be doing good just by having a brew!