Date published: 18th June 2021

North Norfolk District Council are thrilled to announce the contract to run the staff restaurant at the Cromer offices has been awarded to local charity About With Friends.

The charity supports adults and children with learning difficulties to live the life they choose and part of their extensive range of services includes their workskills programmed designed to teach skills for life and work.

Within this service AWF have their catering department where members not only learn to cook for themselves, but for outside events such as weddings and corporate hospitality. They also run a very successful café in Cromer town centre, as well as a recently re-launched shop, moving away from a typical charity shop to an outlet for upcycled furniture and items made by its members ranging from bird boxes and art, to t-shirts printed in their workshop with original artwork.

After meeting with the team at AWF, it was clear that they were able to provide healthy, appetising meals and snacks while also giving the opportunity for those involved with the charity to learn essential life skills.

Helen Dalton-Hare BEM, Chief Executive Officer at About with Friends, said: “I can’t tell you how excited everybody is. We will be so proud to provide catering services for our North Norfolk District Council staff. Members are going to get fabulous experience in NNDC’s kitchens and a whole new range of opportunities. We have members who are so ready for this opportunity and are looking forward to meeting everybody at the Council”

NNDC are glad to be leading the way in giving adults with learning difficulties the opportunity to do real work and, with the right support, have the ability to be a successful part of a professional catering service.

Cllr Lucy Shire, NNDC’s Portfolio Holder for Organisational Resources, commented: “I am delighted that we have been able to reflect our drive for equality through the award of this contract and we have helped to create more opportunities for learning new skills. I look forward to the visiting the canteen and meeting the AWF team.”

In addition to its workskills service AWF also provide home support and outreach, respite breaks, adult and children’s leisure services and bespoke service giving individual one to one support.

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Thank you for taking K to Milton Keynes on holiday, it made her extremely happy. Selfishly, it gave my wife a much sought after period of respite after 16 years of constant care.

Just a short note to thank you all for your help with our daughter. she has spent many years at school with little improvement in her behaviour and speech, yet in just a few weeks she has been with you guys the improvements in both areas are plain to see.

I am not sure what the different methods used are but please continue as you are, as life at the moment for us as a family is greatly improved because of your input.

We are very aware of her complex needs and how she can change like the wind but we will continue to enjoy the fruits of your labours.

I just cannot thank you enough for taking K my daughter so that she could have fun with her friends on holiday in Milton Keynes, […] it made her extremely happy.

Selfishly for me it gave my wife a much sought after period of respite exhausted after 16 years of constant care. Complete respite is dependent upon the knowledge that your child is in safe professional caring hands. The ‘about with friends’ staff impress me because they display such enthusiastic vocational attitudes towards their care.

It was a massive decision for his family to make and by choosing AWF it means they trust totally in the service. I am of the opinion that AWF is the only provision in the county for D and he is very happy to attend.

Over the last five years I have had a fortnightly, 2 hour designated gardening slot. I highly value your service and ethos.

I haven’t seen D for ages and he looks like a new man . The stress has gone from his face – he looks great Well done !!!!

To all the staff at About with Friday, I had a wonderful time with you guys, and I want to say a big thank you for looking after me. Love from K.

About with Friends and you particularly, have done some great work with excellent outcomes for D. I was particularly pleased to hear that you are working on integration with the Youth Group as I felt he would miss out on peer interaction if he didn’t come to college.

I’ve got my life back

This is the best transition I have had for a student in the whole five years I have taught 6th formers!