Former teacher opens new cafe in Northampton
The owner of a new cafe in Northampton hopes to help people with autism by reinvesting profits in the business.
Cafe Track officially opened its doors in the Market Square today (Thursday), replacing the Plump Partridge cafe.
The new venture will benefit from the wood-fired oven used by the previous owners, which allows pizzas to be freshly made for sit-down meals.
Owner Tom Cliffe will also offer afternoon tea, a full breakfast menu, and baguettes and other food can be pre-ordered in time for lunch. He said: "We want people who'd normally nip to Boots or somewhere in their lunch break to come here. They can order by email in the morning and pick it up.
"But we're still open to changing things a little bit if anyone has any good ideas."
Cafe Tracks is operating as a social enterprise where the profits are ploughed back into the business, which will enable it to help people on the autism spectrum into employment.
The organisation behind the cafe, Track, have already been acting as consultants to Northampton firms on employing people with autism and helping them fit in.
The cafe will also offer work placements - either managing social media, preparing food or serving - in order to enhance the skills of school-age people with autism.
Tom's idea came from his 11 years as a teacher at secondary schools including Elizabeth Woodville in Roade and Potterspury Lodge in Towcester.
He said: "There are only about sixteen per cent of adults with autism in full-time employment.
"That means there's a huge amount of talent being wasted and often people just need an environmental change to get on in the workplace.
"It's about matching the talents of the individual to the right job."
Tom hopes that the cafe - which is offering itself as a meeting venue out of office hours - will be successful in its own right.
He said: "The Market Square is such a great spot for people watching and we'll be serving delicious food to enjoy while you're doing it."