Every Thursday and Friday at Sheffield Mencap and Gateway we run our own café, known as ‘Mencafé’. Members of our cooking group, along with staff and volunteers, work together to cook and serve a delicious 2-course lunch to the whole staff team, and sometimes members of the public too. In the past few weeks the Mencafé menu has included sea bass, steak, fresh soups and scones and tasty treats such as Biscoff cheesecake – it’s no wonder staff look forward to coming to work!

In addition to developing many practical skills, Mencafé is a great opportunity for members and staff to work together as a team. Walking into the Mencafé kitchen you are surrounded by laughter as well as mouth-watering cooking smells. It is clear that the relationships between group members and staff are very special. Some of the members and staff from Mencafé have shared their stories with us here as part of our ’70 Stories’ project; a celebration of the people who have made Sheffield Mencap and Gateway such a warm, welcoming place over the past 70 years.

“My favourite thing about Mencap? You, my dear!” Thomas (story 44) to Joanne (story 45)

Watch the stories of Ruthina (story 40) Carol (story 41) Fallon (story 42) and Kerry (story 43).

Grace (story 39): I have all my best friend and Mencap is my family. My happiest memory here is making friends. I love being part of it. I’ve got the best cooking group on Thursday.

Aitch (story 48): Being a Support Worker at Mencap gives me great job satisfaction and I like to bring a smile to everyone’s face. Been here over 10 years from a volunteer role, realised I wanted to work with this client group and charity. I am an integral part of the team giving 1:1 support but also being on hand for any member or parent when required. I have always happily volunteered for Mencap when I can, such as doing face painting at our Christmas Fair. I am approachable, an all rounder who will go the extra mile for Mencap.

Jack (story 46): I like to cook and relax in the sensory room. We cooked bangers and mash. Good memories of Mencap.

Cookery on Thursday is just one of many groups that we provide for adults with learning disabilities, all run by our dedicated, caring staff team. Building relationships is at the heart of our services and the warm, inclusive atmosphere at Mencap makes sure all members know they are part of our community.

You can find out more about our adult’s services here.

You can read The Royal Mencap charity’s article about Mencafé here.