At the launch a live jazz duo also crooned to the audience before a children’s entertainer hit the stage while attendees sampled some nibbles.
Founded by husband and wife duo Kemi and Chris Madumere, the Camouflage Café is an offshoot of the couple’s Brighter Futures charity which supports young people and adults with learning disabilities. It’s an initiative that’s supported by Peabody as well as the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The menu includes foods like croissants, sandwiches, paninis and jacket potatoes, and may expand based on customer demand.
Some of the adults that the charity works with will staff the café, gaining important customer service and operational skills that they can use to help secure future employment. They’ll work alongside other team members who can offer them support on the job.
Emma, 27, got introduced to Brighter Futures through her brother who has autism and cerebral palsy. She’s looking forward to starting work at the café. “I thought it was a brilliant opportunity for young people with learning disabilities to actually get to go to work and learn new skills, because there’s not a lot of places and a lot of companies out there that understand the rights of people with learning disabilities,” she said. “Even though we’re all equal, there should be more opportunities for them.”
Café co-founder, Kemi, said: “It’s nice to bring something new and something fresh to the community that everybody can access, not just the adults we look after. We’re able to encourage some of our young people to get some life skills in a real working commercial place, and we needed a collaboration like this because otherwise without Peabody’s help with the venue and the local authority chipping in to help, there’s no way I could have pulled something like this off.”
Fiona Hamilton, Community Property Manager at Peabody, said: “We’re always looking for ways that we can partner with local organisations that connect directly with the community in Thamesmead. Both the Camouflage Café and Brighter Futures do just that while supporting people who are often overlooked. We can’t wait to see how the young people working at the café develop their skills over time, and we hope to continue working with the team far into the future.”
Speaking at the launch event, Leo Fletcher, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “It’s an absolute honour to welcome the café to the borough. For everyone that’s been helping and volunteering, everyone in the community, and the fantastic work you’re doing, it’s amazing. It’s always a struggle to start a new business but just seeing the amount of people here today I think it’s going to be a huge success.”
The Camouflage Café is open at The Moorings Sociable Club, Monday to Friday from 9.30am -4.30pm.
Find out more about the café here.