Inspiring Café Opens at NHS Trust Headquarters

Published: 11 February 2020

A new café providing those with complex needs a place to work and develop their skills has opened its doors at the headquarters of Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust.

Based in Willerby the café is run by charity Autism Plus who supports adults and young people with autism, learning disabilities, mental health conditions and complex needs. The outlet, which is supported by Trust charity Health Stars, provides freshly prepared food daily for staff and visitors whilst supporting workers to build their careers, gain qualifications and build confidence.

Graham White, Group Commercial Manager at Autism Plus, said:

“It is our goal to support and help people to develop skills and confidence. It’s important that the organisations we work with are forward thinking and understand the complexity of the people we support and how to work effectively in partnership with them.

We’re proud to work with Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust as our ethos and priorities are very much in line with one another. And that is to discover news ways to help provide opportunities for a vast range of people and develop their full potential, to the point that they are able to achieve things they previously didn’t think possible. Whether that’s achieving a qualification or securing a job.”

The Trust finds it extremely important to work in partnership with organisations such as Autism Plus, rather than standalone, as their Trust values align with that of building relationships within the community and standing a united front with other healthcare services.

In recent months, the cafeteria remained closed in order to refurbish and rethink the approach for both staff and visitors. The aim of this initiative was to encourage a more collaborative and agile approach to catering, whilst also introducing healthy and balanced recipes with a new chef and catering team.

All food served at the café is prepared fresh, daily on site. Breakfast foods such as cereal and warm sandwiches are served between 8:30 and 11:00, with lunch then being served between 11:30 and 14:00. The lunch menu varies weekly and includes warm meals, sandwiches, salads and more.

The Trust also recognises the significance of helping to provide those with complex needs with a social environment in which they can work with people who are sympathetic towards their individual struggles and needs, and can support them to develop both their personal and professional skills.

Kristina Poxon from Health Stars, the Trust’s charity, told us more about the new service and the collaboration with Autism Plus with this initiative:

“We are proud to say that Health Stars have been working in association with Autism Plus to re-open the café. It’s an exciting opportunity for us all, as we bring all our services together to strive to enhance the facilities on offer and also the opportunities within our community.”

From an NHS perspective, equality and diversity is very important to our Trust. To us, it’s having the confidence to say “I have a disability” – no matter the extent – and to make adaptable methods so those people don’t feel different or isolated.

The catering team now work in a way that accepts all staff and their needs, breaking down specific roles to suit the individual’s skills and preferences. Working in partnership with Autism Plus is both an enjoyable and challenging experience that helps us to grow and learn. We hope to inspire more organisations to take steps in a similar direction moving forward.

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