Story & photos: John Mellor
The “Corner Egg Café” is now operating in the large downstairs hall in the Burngreave Vestry Hall. It is one of the projects initiated by the Sheffield charity “Launchpad” which recently moved from premises in the Wicker.
“Launchpad” developed from the Burton Street Project in November 2007 and is the brain-child of Sue Lane, its manager:
“We offer a wide range of activities for adults of all ages with learning difficulties; these are fun and encourage them to be independent and develop both employment and leisure opportunities. We believe everyone can learn and we aim to give everyone the opportunity to do so with courses tailored to work with each individual’s learning strengths and overcome their disabilities.
“We have courses in media studies, gardening, creative writing, languages, cooking, music, computer skills, jewellery, craft, sign language, dance, drama and self defence. There are ‘circles of support’ classes which help students identify people within their own support network of friends, relatives and carers to better understand and talk to them. Students can choose whichever course(s) they would like to attend on days which are convenient to them. We also offer holidays in Britain and around the world where students have 24 hour care and door to door transport.”
The “Corner Egg Café” is run by Rita Hardwick who says:
“The café is open to anyone who would like to drop in for a coffee, a snack or a hot meal at lunch time. I aim to provide tasty, healthy food at a reasonable price. The café is open from Monday to Friday (10 am to 3 pm) with a different menu each day. It also provides a training resource for students looking for a career in catering.”
I spoke to Terry who had joined the project one month ago. He told me:
“I was looking for a new start and heard about Launchpad through my girl friend who was already doing a course here. I am keen to train as a chef with a view to starting a career in the catering industry.”
Natalie Walters was running her Ace Self Defence session with a group of students who clearly enjoyed what they were doing and showed great enthusiasm. Natalie is also directing rehearsals for the musical “Grease” which will be performed at a number of different venues in the near future.
There were a number of interesting groups around the tables. Hannah was leading a small group learning Spanish. Susan said, “I enjoy using my writing skills to write articles for our monthly publication ‘The Rocket’”. Other groups were playing ‘Pictionary’, table tennis, or doing jigsaws and word searches. Robert, from Mosborough, on his first day, was being introduced to the project by Tracey from the City Council Inclusion Team.
At the time I visited the project some students were on a holiday in Barcelona.
There was a really friendly and welcoming atmosphere in the café. The food was excellent and very good value for money – highly recommended!
You can find out more from Launchpad’s website at http://www.launchpad.btik.com