Looking after the safety and wellbeing of our students and customers
Following the closure of the JPK Community Training Centre and Palm Court Tea Room on 19th March, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our students sadly had to cease their training and all our staff were furloughed. In the intervening months, the Trustees with the support of volunteers have been working tirelessly to deep clean the whole centre and make the arrangements for 2m social distancing and all the new health and hygiene measures which are required to comply with government guidelines. The safety and wellbeing of our students, customers, volunteers and staff is paramount.
Unfortunately, by the beginning of July it became apparent that without an income from the tea room it was not financially possible for the JPK Project to continue paying our employed staff through the second furlough stage, and into the unforeseeable future. Regrettably, the Trustees had to make the decision for all staff to be made redundant.
The main aims and objectives of the Community Training Centre is to provide meaningful and realistic training and work experience to adults with a learning disability in hospitality, catering and retail. Although we can not continue with our students training at present, we have not lost sight of this.
Covid 19 will unfortunately be with us for some time, and we have been working hard to raise funds from the Covid19 Lottery Fund. We need to ensure that our students are able to return at the earliest opportunity but they will require one to one mentoring to ensure their safety. We need to ensure that our students are able to return to their training at the earliest opportunity but they will require one to one mentoring to ensure their safety.
We have applied for funding to assist us with extra care staff for our students to properly return. We hope to be able to introduce our students back into their training in April 2021 subject to any further government guideline changes.
We are pleased to announce that we will be taking our students back at the café on work placements, in limited numbers, with our lovely volunteers providing one to one mentoring, so that they do not lose the skills they have already learnt.
The Old Town Café
During recent months the Trustees have been looking at addressing this untenable financial situation and have sought advisors to assist with raising the profile of the Community Training Centre. We have therefore re-branded the tea room as The Old Town Café so that we can achieve a much higher profile, both online and within the local surrounding area. This is purely for marketing purposes and we will be putting a huge amount of effort into making this become a successful and profitable business in its own right, with all proceeds going towards supporting the JPK project.
We are therefore delighted to be opening The Old Town Café on Wednesday 7th October for homemade cakes, teas, coffees and lunches from a daily menu and specials board.
Katie & Patrick’s homemade preserves will also be on sale, as well as our wonderful handcrafted cards. We will once again be taking any unwanted gifts and/or donated items for our Daisy Chain gift shop, to support the JPK Project, which can be handed in at our entrance desk.
The Old Town Café will be run by our volunteers and a skeleton team initially. We hope to eventually take back some of our employed staff, once the current situation improves and our student training centre can reopen.
We hope that you will be able to visit us soon and pop in for a cup of tea or something to eat.
Special thanks go to Hailsham Roadways for their kind and generous donation to tarmac the carpark. This has massively improved our curb appeal and provides our café visitors with nice and smooth free off-street parking for up to 40 cars.
Our disabled facilities have also been improved and refurbished for our less abled guests.