Fair Shot Cafe
1814. Bianca Tavella
Bianca Tavella, from London, founded ‘Fair Shot Café’ at West London College, a social enterprise where 80% of staff have learning disabilities and are given dedicated training and support to boost employability skills.
Bianca has long been involved in a support group set up by her parents for families with children with a learning disability called ‘Friends for Friends’, and was inspired by seeing the struggles many young people with additional needs face in obtaining and maintaining employment, with an estimated 93% of adults in the UK with learning disabilities being unemployed. After her friend Zachary, who has autism, shared with her his dream job of opening up a restaurant, Bianca decided to make this a reality by opening a cafe for young people with learning disabilities. Through the cafe, which has opened its first branch this month in Mayfair, London, Bianca provides training and skills including teaching on how to make coffee, give good customer service and improve self-esteem, and also offers vocational qualifications to help employees with further work opportunities.
In a personal letter to Bianca, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I am lost in admiration for remarkable people like yourself who freely give up your time to improve the lives of others.
“I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you are helping young people with learning disabilities into training and employment. ‘Fair Shot Café’ is a fantastic example of creative ways to support people living with disabilities into finding a career and levelling up the playing field.”
“I am certainly surprised to receive this award and I am humbled by the recognition. I have dreamt about opening up Fair Shot ever since I was a little girl and I still cannot believe that this is happening. I am excited to be contributing to levelling the playing field for all people with disabilities in the workplace. It is a human right to be able to aspire to a career and we all need to feel responsible for making this happen. Fair Shot represents possibility, humanity and equality and we are so excited to welcome you and start changing people’s minds. This is just the beginning for creating opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities, but I have always felt that this was meant to be and will keep championing this cause forever.”