A socially responsible café in Surrey, we launched the Cookie Bar in 2011. A unique social enterprise, the Cookie Bar provides a safe environment for young students with disabilities to experience all aspects of running a business. Unlike in many other fast paced working environments, the Cookie Bar focuses on developing
the student and taking the time to build their confidence and develop the necessary skills to progress and gain independence without feeling overwhelmed.
Originally located just a short walk away from Stepping Stones School (now known as Undershaw) it was the perfect setting for students to gain work experience and, as time has passed, the partnership has evolved to support Undershaw and more recently, Pathways Education. As well as appropriately trained staff, customers also have more of an understanding and patient approach.
Although the Cookie Bar is run for profit, as a business they have always invested 100% their profits back into the Foundation's projects and this now goes exclusively towards funding their education programmes.
The Cookie Bar Bus, a renovated Routemaster double decker bus was an extension of this social enterprise. The Bus follows the same format and through attending events across the country we hope to have raised awareness further and encourage other companies to do the same. In 2013 Cookie Bar café was installed into
the COINS office to allow staff to engage and learn more about the benefits of the Cookie Bar and their subscription cookie service also offers an opportunity for those further afield to support the enterprise. Over the years a number of staff members supported the Cookie Bar both in a financial capacity but also donating their time volunteering in the cafe and on the bus.
The aim is for students to use this to build their confidence and experience in the working environment and many young people have benefitted from this, whether that’s moving on to further work experience in a different sector or maintaining a paid job at the Cookie Bar.
To see the full playlist of the Cookie Bar videos and find out more about the projects, please see their playlist here.