Alex’s story

Alex enjoys coming to the cafe workshop where he feels like he is learning new skills which will help him in the future.

Art Maker Alex washing up in the sink in the arts & crafts centre cafe workshopClose up of Art Maker Alex's face, smilingArt Maker Alex walking into town to play pool during his lunchtime break at the arts & crafts centre

“I have autism and cerebral palsy and I’ve been coming to the Centre for about 4 years now. I feel like I manage to do things pretty well by myself most of the time.

The café is my favourite workshop. I really enjoy washing up and putting things through the dishwasher. When it’s not too busy I can dry up as well. I enjoy going through the process and routine of rinsing the plates and stacking them.  Every lunch time I make my own sandwiches – cheese, ham and salad, no butter. They are always the same because I know what I like!

Henshaws staff support me by helping me get ready to work. Carol is the workshop leader and she ties my apron for me to keep me safe and comfortable. I have my own special apron which is waterproof and it goes just past my knees. I wash up quite quickly so the apron keeps me dry when the water splashes me. I know I can talk to Carol if I need any help and she will sort things out.

I like cracking the eggs when we are making quiche in the café. I prick the pastry with a fork to help it cook. It’s also my job to empty the recycle bins every Thursday. I take the recycling from the café down to the big bins in the car park and sort them into cardboard, plastic, paper and glass. I like sorting them out.

Art Maker Alex playing pool at the local pub during his lunchtime break from the arts & crafts centre cafe workshopArt Maker Alex lining up ready to play a shot whilst having a game of pool during his lunch break at the arts and crafts cafe workshop

I’ve always liked playing snooker and pool. I go to a local pool club in the evenings but wanted to play in my lunch break too. So Vicky from our Disability Support Service team taught me the route to a local pub so now I can go and play after my morning session at the Arts & Crafts Centre. I practised the route with her, learning where to walk down from the Centre and where it was safe to cross the road. Now I am confident to travel by myself because I know what to do. I like being independent. I don’t go every day because it would be too much money but it’s nice to know I can go when I want to.

If I didn’t come to the Arts & Crafts Centre I would be bored stiff and stuck in all day. I’d have nothing to do. It’s good to come here. I feel like I’m doing really well and learning new skills. I want to stay working in the café. I think I’m going to enjoy the future.”

Alex has learnt a lot since coming to Henshaws including knife skills, sandwich making and food preparation. Learning to work as a team member is an important part of the role and Alex fits right in to the kitchen team. Without him we would have mounds of washing up! He has a cheeky personality and a lovely smile. He really enjoys working in the kitchen and we all enjoy having him with us.”

Carol Nicholls, workshop leader

Art Maker Alex with cafe workshop leader Carol in the kitchen

Join our cafe workshop

The Art Maker cafe is a real licensed cafe that is open to the public. We serve breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks throughout the day. Our menu is designed so that you can take part in every stage of the process. You will learn how to:

  • Prepare and cook food including soups, hot meals, sandwiches and cake
  • Develop communication skills through taking orders and serving visitors
  • Improve your customer service skills in a working cafe environment.
Find out more

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