A not-for-profit social enterprise cafe
Our Mission is to:
Enhance the lives of individuals with learning disability through purposeful paid employment and meaningful voluntary work.
Offer a first-rate customer experience with good value freshly made food, the best coffee in town and outstanding customer service in a comfortable setting.
Foster positive values towards disability by raising people’s awareness of the ability and contribution individuals with neuro diversity can make to society.
Provide facilities and opportunities for wider community involvement and benefit.
Operate with a break-even (not-for-profit) business model.
VISION & VALUES
Our café facilitates the acceleration of paid employment for individuals with learning disability on a sustainable basis. Currently less than 6% of people in the UK with learning disability have paid employment.
To achieve increased opportunities on a local level, we work in partnership with organisations to share our expertise and enable our staff of today to work in other cafés tomorrow. To achieve disability employment growth on a national level, the success of the first Strive Café will encourage replication of our model, with more specialist cafés opening across the country.
Empowering the ability of staff through work is at the heart of the business. We promote diversity, inclusion and teamwork. Staff are treated with respect and provided with career opportunities to achieve their maximum potential. Encouraging ownership, providing appropriate support and setting high expectations develops happy, well-trained and committed staff who provide customers with a quality and friendly café experience. Community engagement broadens our impact.
Strive Cafe is a company limited by guarantee following a not-for-profit business model.
The cafe aims to run on a break-even model with income from customers covering core costs. A business plan and cash-flow forecast are in place. Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, business in March and September 2020 demonstrated we are on track to achieve this aim.
Charitable support has helped with set up costs. We initially opened with the front room. During the first lockdown we renovated the two further rooms and the courtyard. This enabled the cafe to re-open with social distancing in place for staff and customers. Plans to offer external catering services are currently on hold but we have adapted to the current climate and will look to grow opportunities when we can.
None of the directors are paid.
UNIQUE SELLING POINT
The prime focus of the cafe is providing paid supported work for individuals with learning difficulties, a unique selling point. Bexhill has a number of ‘ordinary’ cafés but no true barista-style coffee shops.
Providing employment for people with disability has received considerable national interest and coverage recently. In May 2019 the Government set a target to increase disability employment by 16% by 2027, so Strive Cafe benefits from growing awareness, acceptance and expectations of work opportunities for those with disabilities.
The idea was born through the success of vocational work within special education colleges and charities: many students are now suitably trained and seeking employment in the hospitality industry. The concept of a café providing work experience for young adults with learning difficulties or disability has proved successful in other organisations. Providing paid employment is much more unusual and has created our USP. There has been significant local and national interest and support for what we are trying to achieve.