Leeds cafe crowned region’s best

Angie Marshall, cafe manager and Derek Nixon assistant manager at Cafe Leep with trainees celebrate winning the regional round of Britain's Best Cafe.
Angie Marshall, cafe manager and Derek Nixon assistant manager at Cafe Leep with trainees celebrate winning the regional round of Britain's Best Cafe.
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A cafe in Leeds which trains adults with learning disabilities is celebrating after cooking up enough votes to win the regional round of a Britain’s best cafe competition.

Cafe Leep, on Roundhay Road, has been named the Yorkshire and Humber winner of the national contest which saw over 500 cafes nominated.

Organisers SIG Roofing said tens of thousands of votes were cast in the regional rounds and Cafe Leep will now be invited to a ceremony in London on November 9 with the 13 other regional winners.

Mandy Haigh, manager of the organisation Leep 1, of which Cafe Leep is an off-shoot, said: “It’s just an amazing achievement. We are all ecstatic here as you can imagine. We’re so happy and so proud.”

Leep 1 - which stands for Leeds People First - trains adults with learning disabilities in activities such as art, crafts, computers, gardening and cooking.

Cafe Leep itself is staffed by adults with learning disabilities who train on the job and can gain qualifications - NVQs in food safety levels one and two.

Mandy said: “The idea of the cafe is to get more people with learning disabilities out into the world of work. It’s a bit like a training course - so they can train in money, barista skills, cooking. It builds up their confidence and once their confidence is built, they can contact businesses and other cafes to try and get working.

“Our organisation is about having a voice for people with learning disabilities - getting them to do it and we support them to do it.”

SIG Roofing’s Marketing Manager, Janine Brady, says its customers have enthusiastically supported their favourite cafes throughout the competition. “They are among the most loyal users of Britain’s cafes, which is why we believe it’s important to promote local cafes and thank them for the great food and cheerful service they provide. The cafes, their staff and our customers have all had a lot of fun with this year’s competition and we’d like to wish all of the regional winners the very best of luck in London.”

The national winner will scoop an all-inclusive seven-night holiday to Cuba.

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