Leading local service provider incredABLE has won the contract to operate a new social enterprise café at Banbridge Leisure Centre, creating more opportunities for young people with autism and/or a learning difficulty in the area.
Following the success of their flagship eatery Café incredABLE @ South Lake at the state-of-the-art South Lake Leisure Centre, the local charity is expanding into County Down.
Café incredABLE @ Banbridge Leisure Centre will be their second cafe in an Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council ran leisure facility. Café incredABLE @ South Lake opened its doors in Autumn 2020, navigating through the Covid-19 pandemic to become a highly successful eatery. incredABLE also run the very popular Café incredABLE @ Jethro in the community facility, The Jethro Centre in Lurgan.
Located on the first floor of Banbridge Leisure Centre, adjacent to the swimming pool viewing gallery, the café will create seven new jobs and will be open seven days a week serving a range of freshly made hot and cold options including the delicious made-to-order breakfasts and lunches the incredABLE cafes are renowned for. There will also be Grab & Go options for customers in a hurry and local suppliers will be used where possible, in turn supporting the local supply chain. In house catering will also be available for events being held within the centre.
incredABLE has been creating meaningful social, recreational, and educational opportunities for young people with a learning/intellectual disability and/or autism in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust Area for over 25 years, branching into the social enterprise sector in 2017 to facilitate training and employment opportunities for its participants in the catering and hospitality industry.
Ten participants are currently upskilling in the two established cafes with a quarter of the paid workforce having autism and/or a learning difficulty. The Banbridge expansion is set to bring more training and employment opportunities for marginalised young people in the area. The opening of a third café will bring the paid social enterprise café workforce total to over 40 people.
Banbridge Leisure Centre is particularly popular with swimmers with four pool areas, a water slide, a thermal health suite and a number of water features. There’s also a six-court sports hall, three-court squash courts and outdoor pitches giving leisure centre users the opportunity to participate in many different sports. Exercise classes include pilates, circuits, indoor cycling, aqua aerobics and much more.
Café incredABLE @ Banbridge Leisure Centre’s opening hours will be Monday – Friday 9am to 7pm, Saturday 9am – 4pm, Sunday 12noon to 4pm.
Samantha McCartney, incredABLE’s Head of Enterprise, hopes that the opening of the new café will instill confidence into the struggling hospitality industry.
“We are very excited to be opening a Café incredABLE at Banbridge Leisure Centre and are looking forward to meeting all our new customers! At a time when other cafés, restaurants and take-aways are closing their doors due to the current economic climate, incredABLE is going against the grain by opening its third café and we are all too aware of this.
“We have every confidence in our social enterprise cafes and our business model. People want their money to make a difference now more than ever and when you make a purchase at one of our cafes, not only are you helping to provide opportunities to local young people with autism and/or a learning difficulty, you are also making a difference to the lives of their carers, guardians and/or families.
“Each purchase is helping these young people take the next step to meaningful employment and another step away from social exclusion.”
Samantha added: “ We also use local suppliers where possible in our supply chain and as a result are helping to support small businesses locally.”
incredABLE CEO Nigel Hampton said their social enterprise success to date is down to the hard-work and determination of their staff, trainees and volunteers.
“We are very fortunate at incredABLE to have such dedicated staff who believe in the huge difference social enterprises can make to the community and want to assist these young people with autism and/or a learning disability they train to achieve their goal of meaningful employment.
“Our cafes pride themselves in providing a very high standard of customer service, food and beverages with both our Lurgan and Craigavon cafes holding 5 star Food Hygiene Awards since opening their doors.
“We look forward to giving the people of Banbridge an incredABLE welcome to our new social enterprise café.”
Welcoming the announcement, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Paul Greenfield said:
“With a successful track record for delivering top-class hospitality services not only at council’s South Lake Leisure Centre but across their many other enterprises, I am delighted to welcome the hardworking and award-winning incredABLE team to Banbridge Leisure Centre as they take on this new contract.”