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Barrier-breaking cafe in search for new building to expand its vital work

PUBLISHED: 09:36 06 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:11 12 October 2018

A workshop at Wave Cafe. Picture: Keith Guthrie

A workshop at Wave Cafe. Picture: Keith Guthrie

Copyright Keith Guthrie 2016

A Muswell Hill charity breaking down barriers between people with and without learning difficulties is looking for a permanent home.

A workshop at Wave Cafe. Picture: Keith GuthrieA workshop at Wave Cafe. Picture: Keith Guthrie

Wave Café runs activities such as cake decorating and ceramic painting. It says it is a creative space where people do activities “with” each other rather than “for”.

The café rents a space at The Birchwood Centre in Fortis Green Road every Thursday evening to run its workshops.

It was formed following the success of Wave Club, a smaller scale version that opened in 2009. Its workshops are funded through donations.

Wave co-founder and trustee Bernice Hardie was inspired to start the project by her daughter’s experiences of life with Down’s Syndrome.

Jessica, now 27, attended mainstream school but rarely mixed with her friends outside the classroom. Bernice wanted to change attitudes towards learning difficulties and bring together two sets of people who would not typically interact.

Now she wants Wave to reach out to the wider community. “The issue with the club was that young adults were moving on,” she said, “going to university, finding jobs and getting married, while those with learning difficulties were left behind.”

She added: “The solution was to get the rest of the community involved.”

Now she is looking for a commercial partner or café entrepreneur who can establish Wave as a social enterprise.

Development director Ben Sudell was a member of the club for six years before stepping into the role.

He said: “Doing things with people who are different is better for everybody. I was getting a lot more out of [being a club member] than I was putting in.”

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