Community CafeSupported Learning students Joseph Rweyemamu and Caroline Talabi at Vinnie’s Community Café.

Students with learning disabilities from the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) have spent the past year running a community café.

The group has been cooking food and serving customers at Vinnie’s Community Café in Ponders End, a project run by the Ponders End Community Development Trust (PECDT).

The students, who are part of a Supported Learning Work Skills Programme, run the café each Monday from 10am to 2pm, with other organisations providing catering on other days of the week.

They have learnt how to cook dishes including chilli con carne, pasta bake, chicken curry, fish and chips, spaghetti bolognese, cakes and fruit tarts, as well as how to prepare tables, food hygiene and customer service skills.

Community CafeCaroline Talabi and Joseph Rweyemamu prepare vegetables and Nickesha Campbell bakes a cake.

Student Nickesha Campbell, 29, said: “It’s fun working in the café. I’ve learnt to cook lots of different types of food with my friends.

“I also enjoy talking to the customers. They say it’s delicious and that they will come back soon. It makes me feel very happy that they love our food.”

Another student, Joseph Rweyemamu, 32, added: “We have learned to cook some nice, healthy food that is good to eat by ourselves.

“My cooking has improved a lot, and the customers say it’s lovely.”

Community CafeSupported Learning student Canan Dogan serves customer Eddy Langsdon at Vinnie’s Community Café.

PECDT is a voluntary organisation that works to improve the quality of life in Ponders End by making it a better and safer place to live, work and study.

The café is located at its offices in Nags Head Road, which along with the Trust’s other site at The Qube is home to many other community activities, from health and wellbeing workshops and fitness classes to police surgeries.

PECDT Co-ordinator Maria Aciyan said: “We were looking for groups or individuals to run our café, and delighted that the CONEL students were able to come along every Monday.

“They have learnt some great culinary and customer service skills, while at the same time supporting their community, so this has been a real win-win for everyone.

“We have had some terrific feedback from customers using the café, and hope that this partnership with the College will continue for many more years to come.”

Call 020 8442 3055 or click here for more information on Supported Learning courses at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).


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