After struggling to find opportunities for our beneficiaries, we decided to create them instead! We began making plans to open a social enterprise- a real, working business that would give people in recovery the chance to help themselves into training and employment. We considered everything, from furniture refurbishment to fish farming, and finally settled on food. The perfect premises for our cafe became available in the heart of Bradford’s fledgling Indie Quarter and, in May 2014, work on the building began.
We had a very busy summer! As well as the huge renovation project, we recruited our first staff, designed our training programme, and spent weeks choosing our logos, furniture, equipment and suppliers. We even ran a stall at North Parade’s first street party to tell you all about us! We explained our vision of a quality independent cafe run by people in recovery, and were completely overwhelmed by the support for the project from the people of Bradford. We knew that the decision to open a social enterprise cafe had been the right one.
Forks finally opened its doors in October 2014 and, thanks to loyal customers sharing the good news about us, quickly built a reputation for outstanding coffee and fantastic food. We never tire of reading reviews by people who not only love our food, coffee and service, but who also support our social aims and share our vision.
Today, every meal that leaves our kitchen is prepared with the help of our trainees and volunteers who come to Forks for knowledge and experience, but often leave with much more. Our staff help them to develop not just practical skills, but resilience, determination, reliability, teamwork and pride in a job well done. Everything needed to compete for, and succeed in, paid work.
Our trainees and volunteers are the reason Forks cafe exists. Thank you for supporting us. And supporting them.