Coffee shop in need of a helping hand

Ashley Barnes, Amanda Barnes and Taylor Sambrook
Ashley Barnes, Amanda Barnes and Taylor Sambrook
Chancellor Philip Hammond holding his red ministerial box outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his Budget

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A COMMUNITY coffee shop in Fareham is in urgent need of funding in order to stay open.

Mug Shot Coffee Shop in West Street is a community project set up by Amanda Barnes, which aims to help people with learning difficulties to bolster their CV and improve their chances of finding employment.

The inspiration for the project came from Amanda’s daughter, Taylor, who has learning difficulties and was applying for every job available in the region, but to no avail.

The frustration of not being able to get a regular job and the effect that was having on Taylor’s self-esteem and overall wellbeing, became too much for Amanda to bear.

Amanda’s vision is to extend her training programme to the local community for adults with learning difficulties to train skills in customer service, food hygiene and food preparation, also improving their social skills and building their confidence to help them to achieve their long-term goals. However, the current funding for Amanda to pay her trainees has been pulled, leaving the shop in a rather precarious position.

Amanda said: ‘Most adults with learning difficulties are unable to find paid employment and usually work as volunteers in order to fulfil their own values of self-worth and raise their self-esteem and feel a sense of belonging in today’s society.

‘It really is sad that so many have so much to offer and yet stumble at the first hurdle when completing lengthy application forms, which then normally on the last page requires a tick in the box to say you have a disability.

‘I will have to find funding elsewhere if I want my trainees to continue on the training scheme.’

Any contributions or sponsorship would be gratefully received to continue with the project and expand the training programme. For more information email mugshotcoffeeshop@outlook.com.