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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Library cafe is a learning experience

A unique cafe has been officially opened in Workington.

Cafe West, on the ground floor of the town’s library on Oxford Street, offers training opportunities to people with leaning disabilities.

The cafe is the first in a library in Cumbria and is open seven days a week.

It is operated by West House, a charity which helps people with learning disabilities, and will offer 100 hours of experience to its users.

It currently has 10 trainees from all over the county.

The official opening, on Monday, was attended by around 50 supporters of West House, staff and their families.

Alan Barry, Cumbria County Council chairman, cut the ribbon to declare it open.

James Cox, chief executive of West House, said: “I think our cafes are highly successful because the people we support have a genuine desire to learn and an enthusiasm for the job.

“They are learning valuable skills in social interaction and handling money amongst other skills which they can take with them into their life outside of the workplace.”

The charity opened the cafe in August and also operates a branch at Workington Community Hospital and a cafe in Whitehaven.

Paul Martin, West House enterprise development manager, said: “By opening a cafe in the library it has given us the chance to offer more employment experience and it has given the library a chance to gain more footfall.

“Trainees will be supervised and will learn kitchen skills, waiting on and how to use tills.

“The goal of the cafe is to give our trainees as much independence as possible, help them to gain knowledge of the working environment and prepare them for the world of work.”

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