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Ability Café at Belfast Castle creates 10 new jobs for disabled people

Date: 14 Jun 2023

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy met some of the team from the new Ability Café at Belfast Castle. The café is run by social enterprise Usel, a leading provider of disability employment

Ten new jobs have been created for people with disabilities after the opening of a new Ability Café at the historic Belfast Castle.

The café was opened by Usel (Ulster Supported Employment Limited), a leading provider of disability employment support for adults with a disability or health condition to enter and sustain employment.

Ability Café, located in the castle’s cellar, offers hot drinks, breakfast, lunch and snacks, all while providing supported employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The café represents a first-hand example of how employing people with disabilities can benefit an employer, the workforce, and customers.

Usel, which is a social enterprise, provides adults with disabilities with accredited training in health and safety, food preparation, kitchen hygiene and customer service, before giving them practical work experience. The Ability Café provides a safe and supported environment for employees to develop the skills and confidence they need, to progress into employment in the hospitality sector. This benefits and strengthens the local economy, which is currently facing recruitment difficulties.

One of the café’s new staff members is Noel Clayton, who is being supported through Usel’s WorkableNI programme to help get people into work.

Noel said: “I am delighted to be working at Ability Café. I really enjoy meeting new people and working as part of the team. I am excited to further develop my skills, learn more about the café and engage with customers.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy, said: “I’m delighted to see this new café now in place, not only because it provides a fantastic addition to our venue here at Belfast Castle, but more importantly because it will provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Belfast is made stronger by the diversity of its people and, as a council, we’re committed to creating a more inclusive and equitable society. One of the ways we’re doing this is by providing opportunities within our wider estate for social enterprises to work with us and deliver positive economic and social benefits for our communities. Ability Café is the latest addition, joining cafés already successfully operating at Belfast Zoo and Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, as well as in City Hall and some of our leisure centres.

“I encourage everyone to come and support this inspiring initiative and wonderful partnership and to enjoy the delicious food and welcoming environment at our fantastic Belfast Castle.”

Ability Café at Belfast Castle is the fifth cafe location for Usel, which already successfully operate cafés at Belfast Zoo, The Foundry at The Spectrum Centre, The Stables at Lady Dixon Park and at Ballycopeland Windmill.

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