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Social enterprise café services at risk
A cafe may have to stop offering vital employment to people with learning difficulties when a charity ends its support.
Vibrance has said its involvement with Ray Park Cafe in the James Leal Centre in Woodford Green is no longer financially viable and will end on December 31.
Redbridge Council is currently seeking a new tenant, but Redbridge Vision, which manages the centre on behalf of the authority, has admitted vital support for vulnerable people may end.
Kevin Wackett, head of parks and open spaces, said: "It might not be possible to provide the same employment opportunities for vulnerable people as this is what caused Vibrance to hit financial difficulty while running the café.
"It is difficult to find somebody to take over when the previous management were losing money, but we are currently in talks and I am confident that we will.
“Our main aim at the moment is to just keep the building open at weekends.
"We aim to find somebody who will continue the great work which Vibrance started."
Vibrance chief executive, Paul Allen, said: “We have invested a huge amount of resources since it opened and it has given many people great employment opportunities but its future is unfortunately no longer financially viable.
“We will be very sad to see it go, but withdrawing from the café and redirecting our financial resources gives us a good opportunity to redesign and expand the way we provide supported employment opportunities.
“In the future, our work will focus on supporting people with a disability to gain work experience with local employers within their communities and gain qualifications that will support them into work.”
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