fbpx Inclusive village cafe & sweet shop receive face-lift with thanks to generosity of local company
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Inclusive village cafe & sweet shop receive face-lift with thanks to generosity of local company

Date: 20th September 2019

Barrow of Treats, a local café and sweet shop in Barrow-upon-Soar run by Homefield College, recently underwent a freshen-up. The café received a new look with redesigned layout, new furnishings and a lick of paint, whilst the sweetshop has been transformed with thanks to the generous support of Loughborough’s DIAM.

Homefield College is a charitable specialist college for people with learning disabilities and difficulties. They run enterprises like Barrow of Treats in order to give students real-life working opportunities, learning valuable work skills through experience. The majority of students are on the autistic spectrum.

At the café, students develop their cookery skills whilst routinely interacting with customers, learning the importance of food hygiene, stock rotation and timely service. Over the road at the sweet shop students make orders for parties, weddings and events as well as taking orders, weighing sweets and handling money.

Tracey Forman, Principal of Homefield College, said:

“Achievement through experience is Homefield’s motto, and without students experiencing a real workplace it is harder for them to achieve their goals by entering into employment. Many workplaces have misperceptions of young people with learning disabilities and so for many of our students, working in our enterprises gives them a boost onto the career ladder with experience and qualifications, to prove that actually they’re just as capable, if not more so with their determined attitudes and great focus.”

DIAM LTD, a global company who create, develop and install retail & merchandising solutions with a local base in Loughborough, provided free labour as part of their social inclusion and charitable acts programme. They fitted out the sweet shop with cabinets and bespoke shelving to achieve the traditional sweetshop look, whilst creating an organised and practical space for the students to learn and practice employment skills.

Julie Moores, Enterprise Manager for Homefield College, said:

“We are blown away by DIAM’s support in helping transform Barrow of Treats sweet shop. Customers and students alike are giving us great positive feedback about the redesign of our businesses.

As a registered charity, we appreciate the support from other companies in helping us realise our vision. Lawrence and Wayne have been incredibly helpful in pulling this project together, we can’t thank DIAM enough”

Wayne Smith, Head of Manufacturing for DIAM said:

“At DIAM UK social inclusion is at the heart of what we do and we are proud to lend support to local community projects when possible

The link with Homefield College, who work preparing students for life after education by teaching life skills and developing the confidence of young people is something close to our values and we are very pleased to have been involved in this initiative.

We wish the College and the students all the best in the revamped shop for many years to come.”

Barrow of Treats have been on the High Street for 10 years, providing work experience opportunities for young people with learning disabilities.

Katie, a 2018 Homefield graduate now employed as a Café and Kitchen Assistant at Barrow of Treats, said:

“I first came to Barrow of Treats as a student. Working here helped me build my confidence to serve customers and make food orders in the kitchen. My brownies have become very popular with staff and students!

I now have a paid placement working at the café which I am very proud of.”

This make-over breathes new life into the businesses, which will have a celebration later this year to thank all those who helped with the revamp. Additional thanks go to GTE Electrics for providing the air-conditioning at a discount.

Barrow of Treats is open Monday – Saturday, 9.15am – 3pm on the village High Street in Barrow-upon-Soar.

Homefield College
217 Loughborough Road
LE12 7AR
Tel: 01509 814827 / 815696
(Office hours only)
Homefield has been heavily involved in a new venture that keeps young adults with special needs safe while using the Internet. Find out more.
Autism Accreditation - Disability Confident Employer - National Lottery Funded - East Midlands Specialist College Group - Association for Real Change