June 7th 2010
Streetwork UK has just been given planning permission to convert a vacant Edinburgh shop into a new cafe to be staffed by the homeless.
The cafe, Captain Taylor's Kitchen, will help rehabilitate its homeless staff with a wage and workplace training - and raise funds for Streetwork's other projects. The cafe is set to open to the public in time for the Festival in August.
Streetwork chief executive, Gordon Watson, said: "The cafe plans have been brewing for quite some time since we took over the building, but we had struggled to find funding until we were given a grant by the Scottish Executive enterprise fund."
Training will be provided by Streetwork's new Higher Ground Training Scheme, focussing on confidence building, interview techniques and offering qualifications in skills such as IT, health, hygiene, service and hospitality.
Mr Watson added: "We want it to be a place where people come for a cup of coffee and decent service, and leave knowing that they've contributed to a good cause."
Streetwork has been providing support for the homeless since 1992, and runs several services including a crisis centre on Holyrood Road, formerly known as the Cowgate Centre, and other support services on New Street and Bellevue Street.
It also previously operated The Ark until its closure in 2007, when the city council controversially cut its funding following a reported rise in complaints about street drunks and aggressive beggars.