SPONSORS are wanted to help support a community cafe project which trains adults with learning difficulties.
Amanda Barnes opened Mug Shot Coffee Shop in West Street, Fareham two years ago as her daughter Taylor Sambrook, 23, has learning disabilities and was struggling to find employment.
She said: ‘I have successfully trained eight young adults with varying disabilities and learning difficulties in the two years we have been open.
‘Four of them are now in full-time roles, which is marvellous and the other four are now doing further training at college or voluntary work in the community.’
The mother-of-three decided a community-focused shop would be the best fit and provided a complete three to six-month training programme for employees to gain valuable work experience and train them in customer service, food hygiene and food preparation, improving their social skills and building their confidence to help them achieve their long-term goals.
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 in 2016.
She added: ‘It’s so lovely to see that it can really make a difference to their lives to have a chance to prove to themselves and others that they can succeed and contribute to society and the community they live in. I’m so proud of them all.’
The project has been self-funded by Amanda to date and now has a stream of regular customers supporting the business but she is looking for sponsors to help her develop the project further to benefit even more people in the future.
She said: ‘I have already received offers of help with developing the outbuilding at the back of the property, which now has planning permission for two offices. Rental from the completed offices will provide an income to help sustain the community project.
‘I am really grateful for any offers of help. The training programme is so important to those taking part, it gives them a sense of value and self-worth and be a part of community life.’
Amanda explained she would gratefully receive any contributions or corporate sponsorship in order to expand the training programme and she would like another full time member of staff to support the community project long term.
For more information visit mugshotfareham.uk