Cafe run by adults with learning disabilities starts GoFundMe campaign to raise cash for new coffee machine

A community cafe run by adults with learning disabilities is asking for help to raise funds for a new coffee machine.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 11:45 am

Cafe Leep on Roundhay Road is seeking donations through their GoFundMe campaign, with a target of £5,000.

The cafe, which serves a full breakfast and lunch menu, trains adults with learning disabilities to progress into paid employment when they feel ready.

Any extra cash from the fundraiser will go towards new cooking equipment and keeping the cafe going.

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Trainees at Cafe Leep.

Cafe Leep was initially going to sell just coffee and cake but the manager, Angie Marshall, came onboard with her catering expertise and introduced a bigger menu.

But before lockdown, the cafe’s coffee machine - an important part of the cafe training - broke.

Trainees undertake the NVQ programme with the cafe, but four to five trainees a month are sent to the Caffe Society for professional barista training which is then followed up by the

work at Cafe Leep.

A 14-month closure due to Covid and a broken coffee machine has meant that most of the trainees will have to relearn their work, so a new coffee machine is crucial to help them progress.

Angie said: “They come to us knowing nothing and we take them all the way through so by the end of it, they go into paid employment.”

She explained that the trainees do not have a specific period of time working at Cafe Leep as they initiate their transition to paid employment based at their own pace.

There have been 19 trainees who have progressed into paid employment so far.

The cafe is an extension of a self-advocacy group for adults with learning disabilities, Leep 1, which launched about ten years ago.

They practice cleaning rotas, learn how to prepare and cook food and are trained in applying for jobs, interview techniques, how to prepare for work and their journey and professional etiquette.

Angie said that the only obstacle they face is trying to cater to each individual’s needs as they work with a range of people from 19 to 62 years old facing Down's syndrome, autism and

loss of hearing.

However, she stressed that at her workplace 'people will take you for who you are, and not what they think you should be'.

Angie said they hoped to expand into the city centre, naming it Cafe Leep 2.

On the fundraising page, Angie added: "Part of the essential training is learning to use a barista machine, helping them to gain employment as well as providing Café Leep with a source of income.

"Café Leep wants to change people’s perceptions of adults with learning disabilities and see their abilities and Not disabilities by helping our trainees gain qualifications and employment.

"We also want to get our popular cooking groups back up and running as these groups help members become more independent whilst gaining friendships and having fun.

"So any funds left after purchasing a coffee machine will be spent on new cooking equipment and keeping café Leep going."

To donate to Cafe Leep’s GoFundMe campaign, visit https://gofund.me/92fc27c0.

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