Cooking up a new course

FIVE learners from North Hertfordshire College are swapping the classroom for a café – and are counting the profits. The learners, who all have learning disabilities, have taken on the challenge of running the Place Arts Centre café in Letchworth GC. The

FIVE learners from North Hertfordshire College are swapping the classroom for a café - and are counting the profits.

The learners, who all have learning disabilities, have taken on the challenge of running the Place Arts Centre café in Letchworth GC.

Their venture is part of a pilot scheme to give young people the opportunity to run a small catering business.

It is proving an authentic, hands-on, experience for the students. They have devised menus, set prices, shopped for ingredients, prepared the food, served it and collected the money.


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The have-a-go caterers were determined to provide value for money for customers with a menu which offers a cheese ploughman's for just £1.80 and toast and jam for 60p.

"I think it's good. We haven't stopped since the moment we got in here," said 23-year-old Hannah Gibson, one of the more experienced members of the team who are all taking a food-handling course at the college.

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Her colleagues, who include David Howard, Andrew Wells and Paul Brown, are equally enthusiastic.

'I am really enjoying myself,' said Paul.

Among the customers on the first day were members of North Herts People First, the organisation that devised the scheme. They included co-ordinator Alex Morris and chairman Jonte Sims.

The group, based in Hitchin, was set up in 1989 so that people with learning disabilities could be helped to find ways to achieve their ambitions.

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