Belfast Café Brings New Opportunities For People With Learning Disabilities

A new café in north Belfast is set to create 11 jobs and a range of work experience opportunities for people with learning disabilities and autism.

The development at the Grove Wellbeing Centre comes through a partnership between GLL, which has 14 leisure centres across Belfast and local charity Orchardville, which is creating and providing training for the new roles.

Orchardville is a registered charity and social enterprise committed to changing the lives of people with learning disabilities, and has been awarded the contract to run the new 'Orchard @ The Grove' eatery, which will begin trading early in June 2019.

Joan McGinn, chief executive of Orchardville, explained how the contract will provide a channel for empowering individuals: "Orchardville is delighted to be working in close partnership with GLL to operate the café at Grove Wellbeing Centre. We have invaluable experience of running our award-winning Orchard Café on Newtownards Road in east Belfast and are looking forward to replicating this success at Grove.

"We believe that with the right support, any individual with a learning disability or autism can reach their full potential and achieve their employment aspirations. The café will provide meaningful work experience opportunities to people with learning disability and/or autism who wish to pursue employment in the catering, hospitality and tourism sectors."
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Gareth Kirk, Regional Director for Northern Ireland at GLL, a not-for-profit charitable social enterprise, said: "GLL is proud to be able to work with an organization like Orchardville who make a very real difference to people's lives here. As a social enterprise, we are keenly aware that the work we do must be of benefit to those who live in our local communities and we want the leisure centres we run to be a welcoming space for everyone. The Grove Wellbeing Centre is always buzzing with activity and the café caters for our diverse customer base. 

"In keeping with this ethos we want to ensure that our café will make a positive contribution to the wider community through this new partnership. Orchardville plays a valuable role in assisting people with learning disabilities and autism and we are keen to develop a meaningful partnership where we can not only ensure the provision of an excellent café at Grove, but also in the process, help to change lives."

An open day will be held on Friday 31 May 2019 for anyone who wishes to find out more about Orchardville and its plans for the café. Through its offices in East Belfast, Bangor, Lisburn and Derry, the charity facilitates occupational and vocational skills, wellbeing support, skills for life and work, OCN (Open College Network) accredited training, school transitions services, work placements and paid employment. Over 500 people have already been supported into the workplace with Orchardville, fulfilling roles with over 100 employers.


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