Posted: Sat 14th Oct 2023

Community Café Supporting People with Learning Needs Opens in Blaenau Gwent /
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Oct 14th, 2023

COUNCILLORS have been told of a community café run by Blaenau Gwent’s Social Services that helps people with additional learning needs develop life skills.
The “Stute Cafe” is inside Blaina Institute, and opened its doors last month.
The café was brought up for discussion at a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Corporate Governance and Performance Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, October 12.
Cllr Tommy Smith wondered if it was possible to allow young people with disabilities or additional learning needs to do work experience with the council.
Cllr Smith said:  “It was raised with me a couple of weeks ago regarding someone with additional needs that was leaving education, and they would like to work for one day a week at one of our waste transfer sites.
“This would show that we are encouraging people with disability to gain opportunities and improve their wellbeing.”
Head of organisational development Andrea Prosser said that the council had not taken on work experience placements for years as the “structures and support” for that had been “deleted” in the past.
She added there would be “risk assessment issues” concerning work experience at a waste transfer site.
Ms Prosser said: “We do take positive action to encourage people with disabilities to apply for jobs in the council and there is support in our recruitment policy to enable them to do that.”
Cllr Smith asked if work experience could be reintroduced at the council.
Ms Prosser added: “We don’t have any plans as we don’t have the resources to do that.”
She explained that the council does run an apprenticeship scheme and there is also a “job experience” scheme at “Stute Cafe.”
Interim director of social services, Tanya Evans explained: “Within Adult Social Services we do have a social enterprise that has just been launched for people who have learning disabilities.
“They are being supported within that learning environment to give them a bit of experience to increase their confidence and skills.
“Our ambition is to increase these social enterprises.
“As much as we want to push this agenda and increase these opportunities as a council, because of the financial situation and ever dwindling resources there will sadly, be a limit to what we can do.”
She added there would be a formal launch of the Stute Café in a couple of weeks’ time.
When the café opened last month, Blaenau Gwent council said: “This exciting venture has given us an opportunity to breathe life into one of our historic buildings alongside showcasing the catering talents of the staff within social care and importantly offering much needed work placements to those who access our support.
“This initiative has built on the development work we have already done within the Blaenau Gwent Community Meals Service, where we are offering afternoon teas and light snacks for delivery with traditional lunches for those people who are unable to prepare their own meals.’
The Stute Café is open four days a week from Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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