Fair Shot Cafe: The Social Enterprise Helping Young Adults with Disabilities

By Ellie Smith

1 year ago

The charity works to empower people with learning disabilities and autism

London welcomes a stream of new culinary openings every month – but only a small handful have impressive social credentials. That’s why we’re excited to hear about Fair Shot Cafe, a not-for-profit cafe opening in Covent Garden this February, having relocated from a smaller site in Mayfair.

Founded by Bianca Tavella back in 2019, Fair Shot Cafe was designed to help young people with disabilities by providing them with hospitality training. Currently 94 per cent of adults with learning disabilities are unemployed, but Fair Shot aims to change this, promoting inclusive employment and disproving stigmas. Each year, 12 young adults are enrolled into the programme, spending four days a week at the cafe and one day at their partner college to carry out the educational side of the course.

Bianca Tavella, founder of Fair Shot Cafe

After finishing the training, Fair Shot’s employees are transferred to roles at one of its partner organisations – which range from fellow hospitality venues like Aquavit and Treehouse Hotel to more corporate jobs at places like Associated British Foods. They’ll also be provided with ongoing support for the first six months to ensure a smooth transition.

The Covent Garden site will be larger than the original Mayfair location, allowing more space for diners to enjoy the all-day dining menu. Brunch will be a big focus, with standout dishes including overnight oats, portobello mushroom toast, and roasted beetroot salad with feta. Guests can also tuck into freshly made focaccias, toasties and salads, alongside specialty-grade coffee from Curious Roo.

Tavella said: ‘In the space of a year, we’ve helped 21 adults get out of the unemployment cycle, taken off a huge amount of pressure off their families and changed thousands of mindsets amongst our customers creating an everlasting chain reaction of impact.

‘We have trainees that had not left their house since the very start of the pandemic, trainees that have started making friends and socialising for the very first time, trainees that have started speaking, trainees that have started smiling and trainees that have developed a whole new sense of confidence. Every day they are presented with endless feats but they keep pushing through discovering new parts of themselves they didn’t even know existed.’

Fair Shot Cafe will open on 1 February 2023, fairshot.co.uk