Café hires young people with Down’s syndrome to help boost their CVs

After a successful period in March 2018, a café staffed by young people with Down’s syndrome has recently opened.

The Sunshine and Smiles charity opened Café 21 on 12 January in a bid to help younger people with the genetic condition get work experience and training to help boost their career prospects.

Sunshine and Smiles is a parent-led charity that helps children and young people by providing speech and language therapy, regular groups and activities, as well as individual support.

The charity aims to raise awareness and challenge preconceptions about Down’s syndrome in the wider community.

National statistics revealed that just 17 per cent of all adults with a learning disability are in paid employment.

Service Manager at Sunshine and Smiles, Ailith Harley-Roberts said: “Thus far, the café has been a roaring success – the young people have thrived!

“When we had the trial, it was just for a week and it felt like such a shame to have to close the doors. Since then, the charity has sought funding to re-open and I think it is brilliant we have now been able to launch.”

Mrs Harley-Roberts explained that workers will be able to develop their transferable skills at the café, such as health and safety training, which they can then add to their CVs to help boost their career prospects.

She added: “I have spoken to one parent who said their son has been setting his alarm each morning and can’t wait to come into work.

“That is what it is all about. The support we have had is phenomenal.”