I genuinely run out of superlatives when talking about the diligent work carried out by the Smile for Life organisation. Based in Gosforth Newcastle, the charity provides support for North East children with disabilities and special needs. This amazing organisation tirelessly strives to help our local people through; specialist equipment provision, therapeutic activities, short breaks, challenge days, or simply a wonderful day out for a child and their family.
“Working in the North East, our vision is to put a smile on the face of every disabled and disadvantaged child”.
I recently visited the charity’s Gosforth based Café Beam project in order to see, first hand, the difference this amazing charity is making to these local young people’s lives. Established in May 2014, Cafe Beam is the brainchild of Paula Gascoigne, chief executive of Smile for Life. It aims to give students from local special needs schools and colleges real-life work experience before they leave education.
The Café, which also doubles up as a youth club on an evening, is a delightfully small venue which has a real charm about it. Frankie Rusby, SFL’s PR Manager, told me that the whole project was literally built from the ground up with help from local colleges and business. It certainly seems that this ‘labour of love’ has really paid off, as it has been nothing short of a resounding success. There’s no real secret behind the café’s success; it’s simply due to the commitment and enthusiasm demonstrated by its placement staff along with the fact that they make a damn fine cup of coffee. Also, their homemade cakes and savouries are to die for.
“A city is defined by its people and a great city is defined by great people like those at Smile for life”.
Café beam certainly lives up to its name, as I left with a broad smile on my face and a real sense of appreciation for the confidence, independence and happiness which is being installed into the ventures’ placement staff. Next time you’re in the area I urge you to pop into Café Beam and really get behind this amazing group of people.
In order to accommodate further placement staff, Smile for Life have announced the opening of a weekly pop-up café at The Church of Holy Nativity in Hillhead Parkway, Chapel House, Newcastle. The pop-up café will run inside the church’s community room from 9am – 2pm and opens on Friday October 10th. It is open to everyone from across the region.
27 Ashburton Road, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 4XN
Monday – Saturday: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm.
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