New north Belfast café to create 11 jobs and provide support for those with learning disabilities

Gareth Kirk, regional director for Northern Ireland at GLL; Matthew Emerson, Orchardville service user from Belfast; and Joan McGinn, chief executive, Orchardville.

A NEW north Belfast café is to create 11 jobs and provide work experience opportunities for people with learning disabilities and autism.

The café at Grove Wellbeing Centre, to be known as ‘Orchard @ The Grove', will open next month as a result of partnership between local charity Orchardville and Belfast leisure centre operator GLL.

Orchardville will run the new café and use it way to help provide training and work experience to people who have a learning disability and autism. The charity already runs the Orchard Café on Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

Joan McGinn, chief executive of Orchardville, believes the new café will provide valuable work experience opportunities.

“We believe that with the right support, any individual with a learning disability or autism can reach their full potential and achieve their employment aspirations," he said.

"The café will provide meaningful work experience opportunities to people with learning disability and/or autism who wish to pursue employment in the catering, hospitality and tourism sectors.”

Gareth Kirk regional director for Northern Ireland at GLL, which operates 14 leisure centres in Belfast, added:

“We want to ensure that our café will make a positive contribution to the wider community through this new partnership. Orchardville plays a valuable role in assisting people with learning disabilities and autism and we are keen to develop a meaningful partnership where we can not only ensure the provision of an excellent café at Grove, but also in the process, help to change lives.”

Orchardville supports people with learning disabilities and/or autism, providing accredited training and skills development. The charity supports over 500 local people to access employment and other opportunities every year from offices in east Belfast, Bangor, Lisburn and Derry.

For more information on the new café and job opportunities a special open day will take place at the Grove Wellbeing Centre on Friday May 31.

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