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Yarmouth kitchen opening learning doors

PUBLISHED: 09:14 31 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:54 03 July 2010

New training kitchen at old Edward Worlledge school.

New training kitchen at old Edward Worlledge school.

Miles Jermy

PART of a century-old former school is to be transformed into a community café to provide jobs skills and training for people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

PART of a century-old former school is to be transformed into a community café to provide jobs skills and training for people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

A new training kitchen is being created at the old Edward Worlledge School on Lichfield Road that will also be used to prepare food for a community café opening in September.

The café is part of an innovative scheme at Great Yarmouth College providing work skills for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

The kitchen and café is central to teaching all aspects of catering and generating income for the college.

Team leader for learning development Nick Morgan Baker said “The idea is to create a model of inclusion where people with learning difficulties and disabilities and their training are integrated into the college community and not signposted separately.

“The idea is that you will be in the café and the person serving you has Downs Syndrome but you don't notice.

“We will have a retail outlet and cafeteria with a working and training kitchen. It will be a working kitchen but we will also use it as a supported work environment for students to have some training.”

The aim is that those who are able will move on to careers in retail or catering.

An entry to catering and hospitality course has been established for learners with disabilities and mental health issues by catering team leader Kevin Bayes and Mr Morgan Baker.

The developments are the first steps to creating a centre of excellence for retail and catering at the college.

Mr Morgan Baker secured £166,000 to set up a Business Enterprise Education Zone to help students with learning disabilities find jobs. Future plans included a shop and producing goods in-house to encourage enterprise and generate income and to take on outside catering.

The plan also includes a Sensory Impairment Information Technology Centre and a sensory communication suite of rooms- for children and young people on the autistic spectrum providing therapeutic alternative to conventional teaching.

The whole project - estimated to cost about £1m with funding from a variety of other sources - links with the Norfolk county strategy for learning difficulties.

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