This week I popped into a local coffee shop in Arbroath High Street for (I’m embarrassed to say it) the first time. I met with Sharlene the manager who told me all about the concept behind Darling’s Coffee Shop.
Darling’s is a social enterprise, developed by ENABLE Scotland, which offers young people with learning disabilities the chance to gain skills and experience in the hospitality and catering industry.
They have an array of fine teas and coffees (fair-trade) and delicious looking home baking. On the savoury side they offer freshly cooked snacks and lunches, all made on the premises. I popped into the kitchen to say hi to some of the guys, and the smells that hit me were mesmerising!
Sharlene took me behind the scenes of the coffee shop where she showed me a meeting room where the trainees receive their initial training, before they go on to work in the coffee shop itself. She proudly told me that Darling’s has so far had 40 trainees through their doors, 13 whom have since moved onto paid employment. A great achievement I’m sure you will agree.
All money made by the coffee shop is re-invested in training and support. It helps to create life-changing opportunities for it’s young people.
Sharlene also stressed to me the importance of community spirit and how much she wants Darling’s Coffee Shop to be very much at the heart of Arbroath and it’s High Street. Going by what I saw there is plenty of heart in the coffee shop already.
So much so that Darling’s is up for an award! It is in the running for the RBS Community Project of the Year in conjunction with STV. STV will be airing a show on the nominees in the autumn and when Darling’s broadcast is on and for the following week you can vote for it – I will keep you up-to-date with that, so you can vote along with me.
And as a lover of art, I was also struck by the artwork on the walls of the coffee shop, which is for sale. Local artists from Angus Council’s pARTicipate art group produce the work.
Now that I have discovered Darling’s I will be visiting on a more regular basis, and voting for it to be the RBS Community Project of the Year when the time is right.
If you are on the east coast of Scotland and in the Arbroath area, please do pop along and show your support for the project by enjoying a cuppa and a cake and to meet the great trainees who make Darling’s a very welcoming place indeed.
ENABLE Scotland is the country’s largest organisation for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities, their families and carers, established in 1954.