About Us

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Jennie Kettell

Founder/Director

Works for a Berkshire based charity helping other parents who have children with special needs. She has also worked with Autistic teenagers in a special and well known residential school, has run holiday clubs for children with special needs and has been a Parent Governor at her daughter's special needs school for 6/7 years. She will also be chief taster!l

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Jo Lavelle

Finance

Has worked for a well known Berkshire based charity as their Finance Manager for several years after having been a Trustee before that. Jo also has children with special needs.

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Nigel Kettell

Operations

Jennie's husband, Jessica's Dad is a Mechanical Technician in a sweet factory and will be helping us to source the right coffee van and keep it running smoothly.

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Polly Lewis

Administration 

Our guru for everything compliance and policy related.  Polly also has children with special needs and has been on the committee of an extra-curricular club for children with Autism for the last few years. She also works for a local charity.

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My name is Jennie Kettell and I am the founder of this social enterprise. 

I came up with the idea of having a coffee van for young people with severe/specific learning disabilities after looking at what is 'out there' for my daughter to do when she leaves school. My daughter, Jessica is 16 years old and is Autistic and has severe learning difficulties/disabilities. She was diagnosed when she was 3 years old. She didn't understand or interact very much with the world around her and had no speech. Thankfully, she was able to access an amazing special needs school almost straight away and has come on in leaps and bounds since then. It was a miracle for us when she started to talk at age 6 and now we can't shut her up! She is amazing to be around. She's so cheerful all the time and makes everyone around her smile. She is very sociable and wants to know all about people when she sees them. Her academic skills are very much behind her social skills. She reads at a 7 year old's level and her ability to do Maths is younger than that. She will not be pursuing an academic career. She does however, have a lot of skills to offer our community and has expressed an interest (for many years) of working in a café. She will be great at this but as her learning problems are so complex, she will need a lot more time to learn the skills needed and even more time to consolidate them. Obviously, she is not alone. There are many teenagers in special needs schools across the country who are able to learn and apply skills but need extra time and patience from others to be able to do so. The Office of National Statistics (2019) states that only 0.8% of people aged 16-64 with SLD are in any type of employment. This is a shocking statistic and we need to do something about it!

Our coffee van, when set up, will be able to teach many students the skills that they need from an earlier age, to give them the time that they need. Not all of these pupils will have the burning desire that Jessica has to work in a coffee shop, but this enterprise is so much more than that! 

The young people accessing this venture will learn the following life skills that can be applied to many forms of employment:-

  • Communication skills

  • Meeting new people & friends.

  • Working as part of a team

  • Decision making

  • Food and drink preparation

  • Hygiene and safety

  • Functional numeracy and literacy

  • Money handling

  • Experience of running and contributing to a real business.

  • Baking cakes and biscuits

  • Gain industry recognised certification to take on to other employers

Our social enterprise has been set up as a community interest company whereby all profits from any sales will be ploughed back into training more students. 

We have 4 Directors:-

 

Misconceptions and negative attitudes can be a barrier to people with a disability living the lives they want (Dixon et al., 2018). We want to use our coffee van to raise awareness that our young people have a lot to offer the world of employment and the wider community.

Why a coffee van?

Coffee is a growing trend and not seasonal. It allows us to start small scale, has low start-up costs, less overheads, good profit margins (up to 95% - NCASS), allows for flexibility and will be run as a real business. It can be parked outside the students’ current place of education. This saves travel time but also means that the students are already somewhere familiar, which will reduce anxiety (common in people with disabilities).

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Barista Making Coffee To Go

Our Vision

A training and work experience placement (inspired by so-called Autism Cafes), to help young people with SLD (Severe/Specific Learning Disability) to develop skills in a slower, more supportive environment whilst serving real customers. It will be a self-contained mobile coffee van to be parked outside or close to the school for young people with SLD to learn how to take orders for and make coffee and other hot drinks plus snacks. There will be a menu with words and pictures for people to order from verbally and by pointing. There will be some fold up tables and chairs. One young person will take order and possibly the money. The other young person will make the drinks. The young people will do a ‘shift’ on the van.

The young people will be set personal targets in collaboration with their teacher and parents, and given individual support to progress their skills in each area.

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