New Leeds cafe helping patients

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A new café has opened providing training to people with learning disabilities and those recovering from mental health problems.

The Foodworks Café at the Becklin Centre is offering healthy food alongside training, employment and volunteering opportunities.

Social enterprise, FoodWorks, is behind the venture which is being headed up by New Zealand chef and former personal trainer Muka Silver.

Muka said: “I used to live in Australia where the healthy fast food market is booming. I want to take inspiration from this and create dishes that people will enjoy that will also help with their recovery.”

It is hoped the menu will support patient recovery at the Becklin Centre, a unit near St James’ Hospital which provides services for people suffering complex and acute mental health needs.

Jill Copeland, chief operating officer at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which runs the Becklin Centre, said: “The cafe is a fantastic joint venture which will not only create a relaxing social hub providing delicious and nutritious food for service users and staff at the centre, but will also offer employment and training opportunities to people with learning disabilities and those recovering from mental health problems.”

This new venture follows on from the success of FoodWorks’ outside catering business and café at Kala Sangam arts centre in Bradford.

Kerrie-Lee Barr, of Foodworks, said: “FoodWorks is about creating delicious vibrant food, while also offering opportunities to people with disabilities or recovering from illness. Half our staff team have a disability and we currently offer over 80 day placements to people with disabilities.”