The Times Series’ campaign to save a juice bar run by people with learning disabilities has come to a fruitful end after Saracens rugby club stepped in.
The Premiership club has invited Barnet Mencap’s Drink it Juice Bar to trade at all home games at Allianz Park.
The bar will also be open at other community events at the ground in Greenlands Lane, Hendon.
Shelley Gibbons, the charity’s community project manager, said: “It’s very exciting and will be a real challenge.
“It will hopefully generate more income that can be reinvested in the project and enable us to train more people, giving more people with learning disabilities employment skills and opportunities.
"It will also show what people with learning disabilities are capable of achieving.
"Barnet Mencap would like to say thanks to the Times for its campaign.”
The charity launched the juice bar in July 2011 after receiving a grant from Barnet Council to run the project at Finchley Youth Theatre for six months.
When money ran out, the Times Series launched a campaign to keep the project running.
So far we have helped raise more than £3,700, but with Saracens' generous offer the bar’s future has been secured.
People with learning disabilities will be paid to serve up healthy juices and hot drinks for visitors to the new £24million stadium, as well as gain qualifications in customer services and health and safety.
Juice bar employees Robin McDonald, 22, and Giulia Capitelli, 30, are delighted with the news.
Robin, of Fortescue Road, Burnt Oak, said: “It’s amazing the juice bar has been saved.”
Giulia, of East Barnet, added: “I’m really looking forward to working at the stadium and hopefully we’ll get a lot more customers.
“It will really help people with special needs like me. The juice bar makes me feel like I have a proper job and gives me independence. It helps me pay my rent and for my own things and I get to communicate with new people.”
Drink It Juice Bar will open at Allianz Park on February 16 when the club will host its first Premiership match between Saracens and Exeter Chiefs.
Allianz Park stadium director, Gordon Banks, said: “Our supporters will love the fresh juice drinks and this partnership fits perfectly with our plans for the stadium to be a thriving community hub, delivering benefits to people right across our community.”