Out of Chaos comes New Opportunities
A new cafe in Truro is offering training for people with a learning disability and/or autism who feel ostracised from their local community and work opportunities.
Chaos is a community interest company (CIC) and social trading arm of the care and support agency, Stayathome Limited. It was set up to help disadvantaged people by improving their employment and social skills and giving them greater confidence.
Chaos, which stands for ‘Community Helping All of Society’, is based at the former NHS centre, on Tregolls Road and consists of a cafe with an arts and crafts area. It also runs a small holding, with six horses, based on the Roseland peninsula.
Green Light’s, Gemma Thomas with Kylie William’s, Chaos Operations Manager.
Babs Rounsevell, one of four directors at Stayathome Ltd, said the project aims to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in society and to break down cultural barriers, adding: “It intends to do this through highlighting each individual’s unique skills and abilities and how they can positively contribute to their community.”
The project includes an employability group, which meets every Thursday at the cafe, focusing on how to write a curriculum vitae, helping people achieve their career goals and filling out job applications. It also offers catering training for volunteers through its friendship club, launched by Sanjay Kumar, leader of Slow Food Cornwall and founder of School of Cornish Sardines, which meets fortnightly every Thursday, 5-8pm. Sanjay Kumar, was born in Calcutta and has worked in kitchens around the globe, from personal chef to the Saudi Arabian King to working for Raymond Blanc. Through his work in Cornwall Sanjay promotes traditional methods of fishing, while encouraging youngsters to respect and enjoy the legacy of fresh fish. His aim is to teach culinary skills while building friendships so that people feel part of their local community.
(L-R) Emma Tythcott, who is head of therapy at the neighbouring Iconic hair and beauty salon, which is also run by Stayathome Ltd, Dean Hodge, who is part of the Chaos marketing team, Babs Rounsevell, and Kylie Williams, its operations manager.
Co-director, Katy Hutchinson is keen to work with more businesses to create further opportunities, adding: “We want to ensure that everyone has the chance to contribute to society, has the skills and resources to achieve their potential and maintain the support networks that will sustain this position. We know that some people and groups find this vision harder to achieve and Chaos wants to make it a reality for those marginalized people and groups.”
The cafe business is also being promoted through external catering, providing food for corporate functions, parties and other events. There are also function rooms for hire at the Chaos site.
Green Light’s manager, Gemma Thomas recently visited the cafe to see first hand the training and support being offered. She was impressed by their approach saying it could benefit many people with autism: “Building people’s confidence is crucial. Knowing that the staff will come to your home and assess your needs before you begin training puts people at ease. It also gives the trainers a better understanding of the person’s needs. The cafe has a warm and friendly atmosphere and the food is great too.”
The CIC is funded through the Learning Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Profits made from cafe and craft sales will be used to fund further training and work placements. The CIC is currently recruiting volunteers who are interested in working with the project. Those who qualify through the European Social Fund can access the employability skills for free. Alternatively, those interested can use their own personalized budget.
Anyone interested in accessing the training or Friendship Club can contact Lindsay Wake on 01872 500058 or via email: iconiclimited.com
For further information please go to