A young man with autism is being given a helping hand to boost his employment skills – thanks to a South Tyneside restaurant.
Fari Farazandeh, from Cleadon, hopes to one day own his own cafe.
The 23-year-old has already completed a level one in business management with the support of South Shield-based group Autism Able.
Now, thanks to Mambos II in Hebburn, he is being given the chance to learn the ropes and could one day see his dream turned into a reality.
Fari said: “I love it. I love being able to do things and to help people.
“I don’t think my autism stops me from doing my job. I try my best.
“Being able to go to work gives me confidence.
“Hopefully, I will be able to own my own cafe one day. That is my dream.”
Fari has been at Mambos working one day a week as a waiter alongside his father Reza, who is restaurant manager.
During his shift at the restaurant, in Prince Consort Road, he greets visitors, takes customer orders and serves drinks.
His father Reza said: “Fari needed, as part of his business course to take part in a work experience placement. But because of the difficulties he has and the autism, he was really struggling to find somewhere.
“I asked if he could come and work at Mambos and they said it was OK for him to do that.
“To make it more real for Fari, we decided to have him in on a day when I wasn’t working.
“He was due to finish before the summer holidays but because he loves it so much he has stayed on.
“He has been learning so much and he takes his role at the restaurant very seriously.
“Being here and working has been really good for him. He has so many medical problems but he is so determined to live as independent a life as possible.
“We are really proud of him and the way he has handled himself at work.
“We have quite a few people asking about him when he’s not at work. He is showing just because you have a disability, you can still have ambitions.”
The restaurant specialises in Italian cuisine and has been a family-run business for the past 15 years. ]
For more information on the restaurant, visit mambo2.co.uk