Sea Change: Children visit new South Shields cafe which is challenging perceptions about people with disabilities

Pupils visited a new South Tyneside cafe and discovered how staff are challenging perceptions about people with disabilities.

Friday, 24th May 2019, 6:00 am
Sea Change cafe members Andrew Auty (31) (left) and Conner Waldron (16) with Bamburgh School pupils and staff during their visit to the cafe. Picture by FRANK REID

Youngsters from Bamburgh School in South Shields popped along to Sea Change in Ocean Road, which is a joint venture with specialist education provider AutismAble

The pupils from the school’s Birch Class enjoyed a spot of lunch and had the chance to find out the opportunities the cafe are offering people with similar challenges to them.

Bambrugh school pupils Scarlett Holmes (5) (left) and Faith Farrand (5) relaxing together. Picture by FRANK REID

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The visit also tired in with their literary lessons, as they’re currently reading Judith Kerr’s story - The Tiger Who Came To Tea - which features a trip to a cafe.

Susan Burgess, early years teacher and primary leader, said: “We were delighted to hear that some of our ex-pupils have become involved in the Sea-Change Café project, so decided it would be the perfect place to visit for our children to meet the staff.

“Our children have a range of special educational needs and disabilities and it’s lovely to meet and talk to adults who face similar challenges: particularly when some have Bamburgh School in common.

“It’s very important for society and the future of our pupils to see adults with disabilities successfully working in a service industry and with the public on a face to face basis. We have been looking forward to our trip to Sea Change and are excited to try the delicious food on the menu.”

Bambrugh school teacher and primary leader Susan Burgess in the sensory room at the Sea Change cafe with pupil Jayce Flannigan (5) Picture by FRANK REID

Sea Change first opened its doors last month as a cafe and community venue with a difference - offering quality food, real-world employment and training opportunities, and a wide variety of social activities.

These will include autism friendly social events, live music, supper clubs, baby socials and exhibitions.

Sarah Farrell from Sea Change added: “We were delighted to host the children from Bamburgh School and show them around the cafe. They’re welcome down again anytime.”

Bambrugh school pupil Scarlett Holmes (5) at The Sea Change Cafe Picture by FRANK REID
Bambrugh school pupil Hunter Pollard enjoying his cup cake. Picture by FRANK REID