New cafe set to unlock a path to work for adults with learning difficulties

A charity which supports adults with learning difficulties has big plans to provide them with valuable work experience.

PROPS have revealed their goal of opening an inclusive, accessible cafe, enterprise centre and meeting space offering food, drinks and products – all provided by their trainees.

The cafe will be called Project 769 and will offer meaningful training and unlock paid employment opportunities to adults with learning disabilities.

From barista training and cooking to customer service and admin, the new cafe in Fishponds hopes to empower trainees with skills and confidence to secure their own job.

Project 769 will be run by PROPS, a Bristol charity who currently support 54 adults with learning difficulties.

Currently, 95% of people with a learning disability in England are not in paid employment. This is predominantly due to prejudice and barriers both in job application processes and in the workplace itself.

Fundraising manager at the charity Konna Beeson explained that this “landmark” project as well as providing direct employment opportunities will be a step towards breaking down societal obstacles.

Beeson told Bristol24/7: “The indirect benefit is that it’s going to really help change how local people see, understand and engage with disability.

“Hopefully, business owners will consider hiring people with learning disabilities or change their recruitment processes to make things more accessible.”

“We’re hoping that’s going to really change how people see our trainees, literally from the heart of this local community.

The team at PROPS provides a daily, structured programme of support, training adults in many of the essential life and workplace skills at the Vassal Centre in Fishponds.

This includes cooking, brewing with Tapestry, gardening, clothes printing and tailoring, sports leadership programmes.

Employees and trainees at PROPS, as well as the local Fishponds community, are thrilled at the charity’s latest ambitious venture, which will see partnerships with local food distributors and coffee roasters.

Sam, PROPS trainee, said: “I can’t wait to work on the till, I love meeting people. I don’t get to meet new people in that way, I’m excited.”

The building on 769 Fishponds Road needs to be fully renovated and made accessible so everyone can enjoy the space.

To raise the funds, PROPS have launched a crowdfunder with the hope of starting work in the spring. The charity is also seeking pro bono support to complete the construction work.