The Times Series has launched a campaign to save a juice bar run by people with learning disabilities.
Drink it Juice Bar at Finchley Youth Theatre in High Road, East Finchley faces closure at the end of the year if it fails to raise at least £5,000 to cover its costs.
So far 14 adults with learning disabilities have been trained to serve customers their healthy fruit shakes every Saturday from 11.30am-2.30pm.
But the bar is also a chance for the team to get a paid wage, as well as gain qualifications in customer services, health and safety and first aid.
Laura Davitt, project coordinator said: “The juice bar is really important because we’re training people who would never get the opportunity to work in a paid environment – it’s very rare.
“For the people we’ve trained it’s been a big part of their lives. It’s a way for them to access the outside world – they’re meeting people they wouldn’t normally meet and doing things they wouldn’t normally do.
“It would be a great shame if the juice bar has to close. We want to give as many people with learning disabilities the chance to access our services, while encouraging healthy eating and living. So much time and effort has gone into making this happen for it to be wasted now.”
Barnet Mencap received a corporate grant from Barnet Council to set up the juice bar last July. But the funding ran out last December, leaving the project running entirely from its own profits.
Giulia Capitelli, who works at the juice bar, said: “We really enjoy working there. It keeps us occupied, we learn to make healthy drinks and it gives us an idea of what working is like. It also makes us get out and about and we meet new friends and work as a team.
“I would love it to stay open – it would be very sad if it has to close.”
The Times Series will keep you up to date with its battle to keep the juice bar open for business.
For more information about Barnet Mencap visit www.barnetmencap.org.uk or to make a donation to the Give us Some Juice campaign go to www.justgiving.com/drinkitjuicebar