Disability news

Mum opens café so she could employ her disabled son

Loui with his arms around his mum in the family cafe

A mum who started a family business so she could employ her autistic son is pleading with businesses to take on people with disabilities.

Emily Petts is the first to admit she had little background in the hospitality sector, but that did not stop her opening a café  in her local town, Newcastle-under-Lynne in Staffordshire.

Despite applying for numerous jobs, Loui, 19, kept on being turned down by companies, but since October he has been working in the family eatery, Loui's Kitchen.

Mrs Petts told BBC News: “We thought we can sit and moan about it or we can do something about it.”

To start with Loui had a small role in the business, but he now carries out a number of duties.

"At first he would go out on the front," said grandad Tony Talbot, who is also a chef at the café.

"Now he'll take orders [and] take the meals out. We go shopping on a Monday, he scans all the items [and is] very hands on."

Louis has a learning disability which makes it difficult to read and write, which created a stumbling block finding work.

He would also struggle working by himself and travelling without being accompanied on a journey.

Mrs Petts said: "Loui can't do independent travel because if Loui got lost, he wouldn't speak to anyone.

"But there's no reason he can't work. There's absolutely no reason him and others like him can't work."

With Loui now on board, the cafe is reaching out to local college Martec Training so they can employ more disabled staff.

"Employers look at it like we're making a difference to them, but you'll never understand what they give you back," Mrs Petts added.

"The cheer, the commitment, watching them learn new skills and being proud - it's worth everything."

It’s also becoming a safe place for disabled people for families with a disabled member.

"I've brought my little boy here [who has] got autism," said one mum, Arania Gill from Clayton.

"It's such a welcoming environment."

[ Loui’s mum Emily Petts is also a co-founder of the Alice Charity which she launched with his nan Steph Talbot. ]

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