Earlier in the month all the planning and preparing by our team in Herefordshire finally came together with the pop-up café afternoon at The Barn in Ledbury. Back by popular demand and this year called THE PINK SHEEP after a succession of team brainstorming sessions.

The Job Club, led by Walsingham Support’s job coaches: Sandra and Wendy, had been busy training the team, and everyone was ready to play their part in the enterprise! The cake bakers and people we support, Mark and Nina, had been perfecting recipes and came up trumps with a range of cakes which included gluten free, vegan and vegetarian. In addition to the cakes, there were ploughman’s, houmous and chicken wraps, fruit kebabs and strawberries and cream. Our neighbours, Haygrove, provided free fresh strawberries over the weekend and the Haygrove staff further supported us by booking 2 tables for the lunch.

The marquee looked splendid decorated with bunting and flowers (thank you to the Creative Learning Friday Club that assisted in making it look beautiful and put up the signage and balloons). Mismatch second-hand crockery was used throughout contributing to the relaxed and fun ‘look’ on the day. The tables were decorated with flowers picked from the Sensory Garden and displayed in special vases made on site by the gardening group. Wendy, who helped run the event said: “It was a funny mixture, but it worked.”

John and Richard, people we support, were first in making up the wraps and ploughman’s and the waiting staff were not far behind. Everyone knew what their role was and at 12pm we were off with our first customers.

People are at the heart of everything we do. At Walsingham Support we see everyone involved with providing support, whether professionals, carers, family members or friends as part of an extended network of support – we all have a part to play and this was never more apparent than at Ledbury’s pop-up café.

With around 80 customers on the Friday and the Saturday, the team were kept very busy both days. Many of the customers were visiting for the first time including several members of the Ross Rotary Club who had a site tour as part of their afternoon visit. We had several families (from as far away as Derby) pop in on their holiday at the nearby camping site. A few passing cyclists even stopped by to join the fun. Everyone showed great interest in Walsingham Support and the team were showered in compliments from visitors about what a great café it was!

Aside from having fun and being creative, the objective of The Pink Sheep Café was to build confidence and experience within a working environment for the people we support. Extensive training was completed in the weeks leading up to the event, with particular attention given to customer service and an emphasis on what is to be expected in a work place. The fun came after! 

Well done to everyone involved, the staff looked impressive in their Pink Sheep Café aprons. A special thank you to everyone else that helped including all our volunteers.

Our can-do approach at Walsingham Support is working hard to deliver quality and value. One of the ways we achieve this is through enabling increased independence and supporting each individual to achieve their goals.

On that note, the plan is to do something similar again next year. So, stay tuned!