"Cafe with Conscience" Kettle + Crust Is Officially Launched
Cafe at St Paul's Church offers work experience to long term unemployed people
The cafe, based at St Paul’s Church in Queen Caroline Street, provides work experience for volunteers who have spent at least five years without a job, helping them gain the skills they need to impress a potential employer.
The cafe also has a 'pay it forward' board where customers can pay for a hot drink or food for someone less fortunate than themselves.
Max Manners, CEO of Resco which operates the cafe, said the idea was inspired by an American Pizza shop.
He says: " I saw a pizza shop in New York was encouraging people to buy a slice for someone who is homeless and thought what a fantastic idea. Sometimes people can feel a bit cautious about giving homeless people money but this way you know they’re going to get a hot drink and healthy food.
" It’s part of our vision and really important to the church that it is an accessible and welcoming space to everyone. As you look around on a typical day you might see a student doing some work, some executives from a local business having a meeting and someone who is homeless who is coming in to stay dry and have something to eat."
Resco also runs Resco Living in Brentford which supplies affordable furniture, appliances and homeware, both used and new. Both Resco Living and Kettle + Crust give volunteers the chance to gain a range of experience and skills.
" At any one time at Kettle + Crust we have two to three staff working with five or six volunteers getting trained up to prepare them for what will hopefully be a long career in catering and hospitality," says Max.
“Everyone who comes to us, comes to us voluntarily. Despite being out of work for five years, they’re so determined, giving up their own time to work hard and help themselves.
" The main barrier to employment is lack of confidence because of whatever challenging situations they have been through. The main thing we’re trying to give them is the confidence that they can go for any job and succeed."
The company pays for its volunteers' travel expenses and lunch and gives them experience they can put on their CV over their 16 week programme. Their duties are rotated so they get an all-round experience and they are given workshops in CV writing and interview skills. Of those who complete the programme, 65% go into employment within 12 months.
Max says the altruism does not come at the expense of quality. "I think people love to support projects or businesses that do these kind of things but they’re not going to buy their food there unless they’re getting something really delicious and good value.
" I think it really works here because Hammersmith has got lots of businesses and lots of people looking for healthy lunchtime food. It’s an excellent space with lots of light and a fantastic green outside."
Vicar Simon Downham, says the cafe operators, Resco, a company based near the Chiswick Roundabout specialising in improving people’s life chances, are perfect for the church cafe.
" We like to try to empower people, the old cliche that it’s better in the long run to teach someone to fish than to simply give them a fish to eat," he says. " With Resco we see people learning skills and that fits wonderfully with what our mission is."
The cafe is open from 8am to 4pm on Mondays to Thursday and until 4.30pm on Fridays. Find out more and check out the menu at Kettle + Crust.
September 18, 2015