Cafe offering help to offenders and vulnerable adults set to open in Ripon

Darlington and Stockton Times: GRANT HELP: Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan, front row, second from left, with Ripon Walled Garden staff and service users GRANT HELP: Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan, front row, second from left, with Ripon Walled Garden staff and service users

A CAFE which helps vulnerable to enter the job market is set to open in the summer after landing a £15,000 grant.

The cafe, at Ripon Walled Garden, a horticultural enterprise run by Ripon Community Link off Palace Road to enable vulnerable adults achieve their goals, is being built following months of discussions with Harrogate Borough Council over the plans.

The project, which is being supported by a £15,000 grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Fund, will develop a training programme that improves the quality of life and employability of people with learning disabilities and offenders in the Ripon area.

People working at the cafe will develop a range of practical, transferable skills, such as retailing, customer care, planning and event organising.

The cafe will be open seven days a week, 50 weeks of the year and will provide structured learning for up to 20 people with learning disabilities a week and structured learning for up to eight offenders a day.

It will also be available for two days a week for other charities, community organisations and schools to hire to raise funds and awareness for their organisation.

Project leaders said it was hoped the scheme would develop community cohesion by breaking down barriers and enabling local organisations to work with its leaders.

The scheme follows the opening of a visitor centre and shop at the site in 2011, after a reduction in its income from social services and education providers for its services, such as day care provision.

While the shop is open every day, no decision has been made on the cafe’s opening hours.

Ripon Walled Garden manager Chris Searle said: “The grant will enable us to achieve a long-term goal of opening a community cafe on our site, which in turn will provide the opportunity for the people we work with to learn new skills in catering, and be of further benefit to the wider community.”

North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said the scheme had the potential to transform the lives of hundreds of people.

She said: “I am confident this will be a high-quality and much valued local facility and hope that the local community offers it their full support when it opens in doors later this year.”

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