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New café run by people with learning difficulties will provide vital life skills

The Hippodrome Circus' Jack Jay with Billy Liffen who works in the cafe. Iceni Care have officially opened at the St James Health and Resource Centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

The Hippodrome Circus' Jack Jay with Billy Liffen who works in the cafe. Iceni Care have officially opened at the St James Health and Resource Centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

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A new café run by people with learning difficulties is providing vital life skills for budding cooks.

General services manager at Iceni Care David Bailey with two members of kitchen staff. Photo: George RyanGeneral services manager at Iceni Care David Bailey with two members of kitchen staff. Photo: George Ryan

It is at the heart of a building acquired by care provider Iceni Care who were handed the keys to the St James Health and Resource Centre in Queen’s Road, Great Yarmouth just under two months ago.

The building, a converted church shed as a community hub for over a decade, was officially opened in its new function on Friday.

General services manager at Iceni Care David Bailey said it was fantastic space which could be used to help support people with learning difficulties.

He added: “The café is already self-supporting. Everything that is cooked or prepared and then sold is reinvested back into the café.

Iceni Care have officially opened at the St James Health and Resource Centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George RyanIceni Care have officially opened at the St James Health and Resource Centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

“I’ve been really impressed with the quality of what is being produced.”

Jack Jay from the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus cut the ribbon at the centre.

He said it was great to see so many familiar faces after a group from Iceni visited the Hippodrome for their recent Spooktacular show.

At the moment the café is only for staff and service users, but Mr Bailey hopes in the future they will be able to welcome elderly members of the community in for coffee, cake and company.

Iceni Care have officially opened at the St James Health and Resource Centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George RyanIceni Care have officially opened at the St James Health and Resource Centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

The ambition of the Griffin Café is to prepare the service users for possible volunteering work or jobs in the future.

They are taught about food hygiene in life skills classes provided at the centre and have made everything from sausage rolls to fairy cakes and pea and ham soup.

Mandy Davy is one of the directors of Iceni Care, along with her husband Glenn and Sandra and Gary Luckhurst.

Mrs Davy said the idea of the café was to prepare people for opportunities in the community.

Iceni Care have officially opened at the St James Health and Resource Centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George RyanIceni Care have officially opened at the St James Health and Resource Centre in Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

She added: “We’re preparing people for things like start times, break times, getting your job done in a certain time.

“It’s helping people become as independent as possible. This is where we really take the bull by the horns.

“They are able to take ownership of it and see the job through from start to finish, even going to the cash and carry.”

Other activities for the services users to get involved with include a horticulture group, a gardening group and a ‘press gang’ who set up our own newsletter ahead of the opening of the building.

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