A community café staffed by adults with learning difficulties has opened its doors in Thamesmead – with its founders hoping that it will help its workers become more independent and confident in their own lives.
Camouflage Café will be open on weekdays at the Moorings Sociable Club off Bentham Road – a building that lay abandoned for 17 years until it was refurbished and reopened 15 months ago. Leo Fletcher, Greenwich’s ceremonial mayor, performed the official opening yesterday.
The café is an initiative of the Brighter Futures Project, a Woolwich-based charity that aims to support adults with learning disabilities in becoming more independent in their communities.
Kemi Madumere, the café’s co-founder, said: “Our team members are passionate about food and hospitality, and they are excited to showcase their skills and talents to the community. We hope that Camouflage Café will not only be a successful business but also a shining example of what people with disabilities can achieve when given the opportunity.”
Madumere told 853 that she hoped the initiative would help people with learning difficulties get an equal chance in the workplace. She said: “Success for us would that the people aren’t scared to employ our learners because they know that there’s somewhere they can get trained. And the employers also know that they can get support, because I think they need support too.”
Fletcher was joined by the council’s deputy leader Averil Lekau and other local councillors at the opening ceremony. He said: “This wonderful café is supporting our mission to ensure everyone in our borough has access to good employment by offering a platform for adults with learning disabilities to do fulfilling work, to contribute and gain skills in the workplace. I encourage everyone to come and enjoy great coffee and food, while supporting this new local business.”
The opening of the café is another stage in the rejuvenation of the Moorings Sociable Club. The original club was designed by local architect Stephen Mooring and opened by the Greater London Council in 1976 as a centre for people on the Moorings Estate.
The club closed in 2005 and was left derelict until Peabody, which took over Thamesmead nine years ago, obtained funding from City Hall to refurbish and reopen the building.
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