Youngsters put in the Groundwork and manage own business

Some of the young people who have been working at Groundwork's coffee shop.
Some of the young people who have been working at Groundwork's coffee shop.

Running a coffee shop is not an easy task – but these young people are experiencing a taste of success.

Checking stock, ordering products and serving customers.

It all forms part of day to day life in a coffee shop.

But a group of South Tyneside youngsters who have learning difficulties are tasting success after taking ownership of the business as part of an educational programme.

The two year scheme, which teaches work and life stkills has helped a dozen young people – and now there’s room for eight more to take part too.

The Route2work scheme, operated jointly by Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (STAN), work experience placements and employers, is looking to boost numbers to 20.

The coffee shop runs from the Marsden Road Health and Wellbeing Centre, South Shields.

Ann Gilmour, specialist learning manager for Groundwork, said: “This programme makes a real and significant difference to the lives of these young people.

“Working at the coffee shop helps to develop many skills, encourages interaction yet creates independence, and builds confidence

“It allows them to work as a team on a real business, gaining skills that they can utilise in all aspects of life.

“But the overall course involves much more than that, with students trying out a variety of work placements, finding out about the skills and qualities they need to succeed in work, and developing their social and emotional skills.

“There are opportunities for people with learning difficulties to get the expert support they need to learn new and important skills which can improve their lives.”

Those on the programme have at least one day a week on a placement and learn other employment skills including CV writing, health and safety and applications.

Time is also dedicated to working on social and emotional issues, including making friends and managing anxiety.

Other placement locations include a nursery, various retailers and Bede’s World, Jarrow.

If you would like to apply, contact Ann Gilmour on 428 1144 or