The regions only Indian tapas restaurant recently embarked on a community project which sees the school-leaving age children with special needs in the region learning all-important working skills in the hope of a career in catering.
The official launch of its ‘Stars on Earth’ Social Enterprise training program was welcomed by the sponsors, schools, parents and children alike.
The Funky Indian, on Sunderland’s Tavistock Place, have teamed up with the city’s Portland and Barbara Priestman Academies for the eight-week course which will provide training in the hospitality sector for children with special needs – including waiting and waitressing.
The fun-based interactive training programme it is hoped will provide the young individuals involved with increased confidence, empowerment, social skills and aspirations as well as an understanding of the hospitality sector, hopefully leading to employment once they are ready to leave school.
Owners Nedhi and Kam Chera told us that it’s something that they have been planning for months now: “We’ve been working with the schools for around eight years now throwing Christmas parties and events for the staff and children. We’ve built a good relationship with the schools and the staff there so it made sense to us to get them involved a little more and give them something back.”
Sponsors Gentoo, SAFC, PSB Training, Amanda Bell, Konect Event Management and Cowell George have all shown their support in different ways by means of cash injections, training, styling, event planning, design and prizes for the children involved.
Kam Continued, “At the moment it’s four children from each school, but we’re looking to run at least another two courses a year.”
The training includes all aspects of front-of-house, from polishing cutlery to the serving of food and drinks, and has seen Nedhi and Kam invest upwards of £1,000 of their profits in the project, one which the duo plan to expand it to more children in the future: “I wouldn’t like to think how much we’ve put into it, time wise, but it’s at least 18 months in the planning! “This is just a pilot so to speak, but depending on how it goes, we’d love to expand it to other special needs schools and get as many people as possible involved.”
11 Tavistock Place, Sunderland
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