For the past two years, Steph has been working at a monthly pop-up café in Aldershot, serving customers tea, coffee, and plenty of hot chocolate.

At first, Steph found the work challenging. She was shy with the customers and didn’t know what to say, or how to deal with enquiries. Ruth, who runs the pop-up café, would stand with her as she served the customers, supporting her to ask the right questions.

But quickly, Steph grew in confidence. As she got more used to catering, she was able to start opening up with the customers, starting conversations and chatting to them. The role became far more than simply serving customers hot chocolate, as Steph quickly became a charismatic hostess and the smiling face of the pop-up café.

 ‘I’ve become much chattier and more outgoing since working at the café. It’s made such a difference to the way I socialise with people I’ve never met before. I’m so happy there! It’s a great feeling to get paid for something you love doing.’

says Steph

To make the most of the opportunity, Steph has been working to complete various certificates to make her more effective in the role. She’s already completed her food hygiene certificate, and has been supported through a Health and Safety course. Her next step is to complete a First Aid course to really boost her skills set. She wants to be as ready for work as she can be.

Steph’s now starting to engage with more of the mechanics behind how the café runs and makes its money. She’s become more business savvy, suggesting customers try a slice of cake with their tea, or a biscuit with their hot chocolate. Her warmth towards customers keeps them coming back each month, and the café has really flourished with her growth in confidence.

‘One of our regulars approached me recently to praise Steph’s work. Her warm personality and confidence in the role had really made an impression on him. It was great to hear. Steph has been absolutely wonderful.’

 says Ruth

There’s no doubt that the café has been a game-changer for Steph. But there’s also no doubt that Steph has been a game-changer for the café. Everyone benefits.

SeeAbility's new employment programme, Ready, Willing & Able, will help people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss to learn new skills, gain confidence and start work. Until December 4th, all your donations to SeeAbility will be doubled through The Big Give