And its success continues with being awarded a five-star hygiene rating, which reflects the care and attention as to how the café is run.
Sarah-Jane Walsh, an Advanced Level Teaching Assistant for Derby College, leads the Welcome Café along with members of Derby College’s Inclusion team.
Sarah-Jane commented: “We are delighted that the café is going from strength to strength and that we can now offer our service to the public for longer. It really is such a great environment and we get to see our students flourish.
“They have the opportunity to learn many important life skills, including communication and customer service.”
“I love seeing students succeed and to see them fulfil their dreams. Week in, week out, we see so many achievements for our students. It could be that, previously, a student didn’t have the confidence to speak to people, but now is able to take meal orders and engage with them.
“For example, one of our students, Tyler, was very reserved but now not only supports the Welcome Café, but also volunteers at a local lunch club and at Darley Lodge in Shipley Park.”
Phoebe is a fantastic example of the café’s success. When she started helping in the Café she was very reserved. Now not only does she continue to do this, but she is also a Learning Support Worker for Derby College, supporting other students as part of the Inclusion team.
Phoebe commented: “I wouldn’t have believed where I would be now from four years ago. My confidence has increased and I am now able to multi-task. And it is great working with such a supportive team.”
The café has been running for five years and offers support in a number of ways, including work placements and a pathway to independence, and also gives options for learners over the age of 25. And parents and carers have the opportunity to see their children learn beyond the classroom, in a work environment.
The Welcome Café is on Mill Street in Derby and is housed in part of St John’s Church. It is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10.30 am to 2.30 pm. And it serves delicious fresh food at very reasonable prices.