We asked readers from Cardiff North to tell us what’s happening in their community. This week, Clare Rowthorn tells us about Miss Tilley’s Community Cafe in Rhiwbina, a joint venture with Laura Tilley, developed under the guidance of the charity Purple Shoots. Clare lives in Rhiwbina with her husband Chris and two children Joseph and George. She works at Rhiwbina Baptist Nursery as a Nursery Assistant.
I have a passion for working with children and young people with additional needs and feel very committed to developing an inclusive society in which all people can feel valued and thrive. Miss Tilley’s Community Cafe is a self-reliant group (SRG) trading under the charity Purple Shoots. It’s a joint venture between myself and Laura Tilley with parents, Jo and Derek.
Laura is 22 and lives in Tongwynlais with her parents and brother Marc. Laura has Down’s Syndrome and is the inspiration behind our community cafe. Laura has recently completed a three year course at Derwin College, Shropshire, where she has been living and studying. Laura has now returned home to continue to develop her independence and to pursue her many skills and interests.
Laura and I have been friends for 8 years and met when I applied for a carers post supporting Laura on her return home from school each day. Laura and I hit it off over a shared love of music and dancing in particular to Justin Bieber! Over the years Laura, myself and our families have become firm friends.
On Laura’s return from college a joint venture began with the launch of “Miss Tilley’s Community Cafe (SRG)”. Laura and I have recognised that on leaving school and college people with additional needs and disabilities find it very challenging to find employment and this can lead to them feeling undervalued and isolated. The aims of our cafe are to “promote equality and celebrate diversity” and we have identified the community as playing a vital role in supporting young people in reaching their potential and essentially in recognising their self worth.
The communities of Rhiwbina and Tongwynlais have been hugely supportive of our venture. Beulah United Reformed Church have very kindly provided us with The Whittaker Lounge as a weekly venue for our cafe and we have been overwhelmed by the support and kindness of customers and willing cake makers from both villages. We are very grateful and excited that so many people share our vision of inclusion and meaningful employment for all. At Miss Tilley’s everyone is welcome and all can come and enjoy excellent quality tea, coffee and cakes in an accepting and inclusive environment.
Miss Tilley’s is open every Monday during term time from 10:00 – 12:30 at The Whittaker Lounge, Beulah United Reformed Church, Rhiwbina.
We’re planning a ‘Pop Up’ event in Tongwynlais Village Hall on the 15th October serving tea, coffee and cakes. Details will be posted on the Miss Tilley’s Community Cafe Facebook page.
We would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support of our community venture, and look forward to welcoming you to our cafe soon!