Gaining confidence through coffee

Clare Norman


Tilly works at Social Bean - our social enterprise cafe in Swansea. She tells us why the cafe is so important to her.

I love working at the Social Bean and being part of a team where disability isn’t seen as a problem or burden.

Tilly - Social Bean employee
A woman sitting in a yellow chair in a cafe holding a mug

Until the coronavirus lockdown, if you walked through Swansea city centre, you could find yourself enjoying a delicious cup of Leonard Cheshire coffee.

In February 2020 Social Bean, our first social enterprise café was launched. As well as serving delicious food and drinks, this unique little establishment was changing lives. That’s because it provided a vital stepping stone to employment for disabled people. People like Tilly.

Why Social Bean is important

Tilly lives with anxiety and has been let down by employers who haven't been willing to support or nurture her. Unfairly, her condition has been seen as a barrier, and she has had to cope with rejection more than she should.

That's where the beauty of our café came in. It was run by both disabled and non-disabled people from the community and offered work placements of up to six months. Social Bean gave people with limiting health conditions experience in the hospitality sector.

Daily tasks consist of operating a till, preparing the perfect latte and cooking delicious healthy food. Disabled people can build their skills and abilities, giving them the confidence to apply for jobs. 

For Tilly, Social Bean provided a significant boost to her self-belief. During her time working at the café, Tilly blossomed.

A fully accessible community hub

Also at Social Bean is a fully accessible IT suite with virtual reality headsets. These headsets allowed disabled people of all ages to access training opportunities and develop new skills.

Thanks to supporters like you, once lockdown is over Social Bean will open its doors again. It'll continue to provide opportunity, choice and support for many more disabled people like Tilly.