Red Route Café, based in Hackney, has double celebrations this month. The café is completing its first year of trading as a Social enterprise and its first apprentice is completing his first year by becoming a paid employee.
The Café was setup by CSV-Community Service Volunteers with Springboard Hackney, a charity who help local young people between 16 and 24, through a number of creative training options and events. This includes providing work experience to help trainees get a job, by increasing their skills, confidence and self-esteem. The Café also helps people with learning difficulties and those who have been long-term unemployed gain work experience within the management of the cafe.
Since opening the Café has seen 12 young volunteers gain work experience. Laura Ball, head of communications with CSV, also emphasised the strong roles and ties the café has within the local community: “Soul FM broadcasts hear once per week, usually there are 2 mic’s, a computer and they just do there outside show here.” The Café itself hopes to add other projects including open mic sessions and create a trendy art and fashion hub.
20 year old Patryk Steanowicz is the Red Route Café first apprentice and used to come to the Levy centre once a week to the body popping class. He believes that if he did not come to the opening day of The Positive Futures event that he would not have become an apprentice. Patryk has developed so much since becoming a volunteer and now as a full time apprentice is carrying responsibilities such as cashing up, stock-management and general business duties.
Paytrk, who is now studying one day a week at college for a NVQ in Business Studies, told the Big Issue online journalists how he felt at becoming an apprentice:
“When I first started at Red Route I was excited as I had previously done customer services before but this was different I was going to learn additional skills and learning how to make coffee and prepare food along with doing more responsible things such as cash management and stock. I took my time and learnt as I went along as these roles are much more than they seem. Being given those responsibilities indicates trust and that is important.”
Rachel Grasby, the café manager, explained that it was through Lord Levy that the Café came into existence. Lord Levy had brought Richard Lockwood to visit the CSV offices next door. There were a number of ideas and initiatives but funding was given to develop the café from the Lockwood Charitable Foundation.
When I asked Patryk what advice would he give to any young person who may be unsure as to how they would approach their future prospects he said “Start from the bottom and learn the basics to where you want to get to.”
To find about Red Route Café visit their website