AN INSPIRATIONAL mum is hoping to combat unemployment associated with learning difficulties through her new business venture.
Amanda Barnes, from Widley, opened new cafe Mug Shot in West Street, Fareham on Saturday afternoon.
Amanda decided to set up her own catering business as her daughter Taylor Sambrook suffers from a learning disability and had found it difficult to get a job.
As Amanda, a property developer, already owned the former Farm, Forest and Sea shop, which she bought in 2013 when fishmonger Peter Cripps retired, she took inspiration from her dad David Clegg, who owned three successful bakery cafes in Portsmouth, and she set about turning the shop into a cafe.
The refit has taken two months to complete, and was officially declared open by the Mayor of Fareham Connie Hockley and her consort Geoff Hockley.
Amanda said: ‘I have always wanted to do this. It is something that I have been passionate about.’
The shop will initailly be staffed by Amanda, 23-year-old Taylor, and Amanda’s other son Kane Barnes, 28. Third sibling Ashley Barnes, 31, will also be pitching in occasionally.
Taylor said: ‘It’s been really good so far, my mum is inspirational. It has been difficult to get a job, I have been looking but they write me off when they see about my learning difficulties.’
Amanda hopes to eventually be able to set up a training programme to help other people with learning disabilities.
She said: ‘Once I am up and running, I will be employing people with learning difficulties on a training scheme to give them confidence and skills that they can take with them into an interview or workplace.
‘Then, if it’s successful, I hope to be able to replicate the model with other premises across the area.’
Amanda’s dad David said he was proud to see his daughter follow in his footsteps.
He ran Modern Home Bake in Cosham in the 60s, and then went on to have Baker’s Oven in Chichester Road and then Coffee Bean in Kingston Road.
He said: ‘It’s not a bad shop, although the catering trade is hard work. I’m proud.’