A DISABILITY group is running a community cafe to help members learn life skills.

People who attend Purple Patch have taken over the cafe at Bangor Street Community Centre in Blackburn, mixing with the community and learning how to cook and clean.

Safina Sawar is the cafe manager, helping the group members and teaching them cooking skills.

She said: “The cafe was up for rent so the group decided to takeover so they could do something nice with it.

“I have always loved cooking so when the opportunity came to work here and help others, I took it.

“I love it here because you get to meet different people every day and helping them is a good feeling.”

Helping Mrs Sawar in the kitchen is Zahid Khaliq, a 24-year-old with learning difficulties, who likes to help in tasks like making the sauces and dips, cutting vegetables and arranging the drinks on the counter.

Mrs Sawar said: “He will watch me cook and ask me how I make it, then go home and make it for his mum.

“He couldn’t do that before, so it shows how much it improves their life skills.

“Another great thing is that the community can come in and they get to talk to people with disabilities and learn more about them.

“It gets people out of the house, meeting new people and tasting different food."

Mr Khaliq was also happy to be given responsibilities to carry out.

He said: “It is good because I can do more things now, at first I was shy.

“My mum would not usually let me in the kitchen, but I can make things like chips and coleslaw now.

“I made it and everybody loved it — they said I did a nice job.

“I want to be a chef and I am studying a food catering course at college. I like it.”

Purple Patch works to change perceptions on people with disabilities within Lancashire and challenge the stigma around it.

The group hopes that people in Blackburn will visit the cafe, and see the hard work the members put in showing they can learn employability and social skills.

Anyone is free to visit the cafe, situated in the community centre, from 10am till 3pm every day.