The Cascade Community Café is open for business!

Our very first community café is now open and providing employment and work experience opportunities for local people with learning disabilities and head injuries.

The Cascade Community Café is based at our Health & Learning Hub on Marshgate in Doncaster and is run by experienced chef, Paul Sanderson, and Cascade learners.

Following a unprovoked attack whilst walking through Doncaster with his two children two years ago, Paul sustained life-changing head injuries and has not been able to work since. Before the brutal assault, Paul had forged a highly successful career in the catering and hospitality industry.

“Ever since we launched the Cascade Health & Learning Hub last summer, we’ve wanted to add a catering element,” explains Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE, founder and chief executive of The Cascade Foundation.

Continues Jackie: “When I met Paul a few months ago and we got chatting, I realised he was the perfect person to lead the Cascade Community Café. Not only does Paul have a personal understanding of what life is like with a head injury, he also has a huge amount of talent and ambition which is just what we need to drive this project forward.”

The Cascade Community Café is open for business

The Cascade Community Café is open for business!

The Cascade Community Café is open for breakfast and lunch from 8.30pm to 1.30pm Monday to Friday. Customers can choose from a tasty menu that includes a full English breakfast with two sausages, two slices of bacon, egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns, beans and toast plus a drink all for just £2.90, jacket potatoes, fresh salads and sandwiches, plus main meals such as meatballs with spaghetti (£2.85) or traditional fish & chips and chicken curry both priced at £3.90. Every dish is created using locally sourced produce.

Adds Jackie: “Paul and the team have worked so hard to get the café up and running and more and more people are coming in every day. We’ve had some excellent feedback from people and lots of suggestions about what they’d like to see on the menu as well as the idea of selling fresh coffee which is something we’re looking into.”

All of the proceeds from food sold in the café is put straight back into the charity to fund other learning projects and help grow other commercial ventures designed to create much needed funds.

Concludes Jackie: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I’d encourage anyone living or working in the area to pop in and sample some of the delicious food that Paul is cooking. And, by doing so, you’ll be contributing directly to the continuation of the work we’re all doing here at The Cascade Foundation to transform people’s lives.”


Michael cascades with success

Michael Thompson will never forget the day he met Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE, founder of The Cascade Foundation, during the very first week of his 14-month custodial sentence at HMP Doncaster.

The History graduate from Greater Manchester stood out from many of his fellow prisoners with his University education and calm, friendly demeanour. Within five minutes of chatting to Michael about her innovative prison project to teach inmates to read and write, she’d realised his potential and recruited him to start mentoring prisoners under her guidance.

“Working with Jackie to teach individuals to read and write gave me a unique insight into why people end up in prison,” explains Michael. “I started to understand that a person’s background could dramatically affect their chances and realised very quickly that if someone doesn’t have any tangible level of literacy or numeracy, the more likely they are to offend.”

Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE, founder of The Cascade Foundation with Michael Thompson from Rite Trax

Jackie Hewitt-Main OBE, founder of The Cascade Foundation with Michael Thompson from Rite Trax

By taking on a role of teaching alongside Jackie, Michael was able to apply his own skills to help many others as well as himself. He embarked on a number of training and learning courses, gaining qualifications in Customer Service, Counselling and Business Studies. He also completed a Level 3 ‘Award in Education’ to further improve his teaching proficiency.

“I’ve been a musician since I was about 13 years-old,” adds Michael. “Music is my passion and before I went to prison, I regularly used to attend gig nights in Sheffield where I was studying. Spending time assisting Jackie and teaching others, I decided I’d like to turn my passion into a business and, ultimately, work with young people and offenders to enable them to create and showcase music.”

After his release, Michael did an enterprise course with The Prince’s Trust. He worked hard at his entrepreneurial objective and, with support from his friends in Manchester and Sheffield, he established a social enterprise – Rite Trax – with three of his peers.

“Rite Trax is a platform for music, art, design and poetry with a focus on an underground creative culture,” says Michael. “We’ve got our own premises at Castle Market in Sheffield and we’re working with artists, musicians, painters and writers from all over the UK. We have an event space that holds up to 100 people where we stage music events, shows and exhibitions, and we recently delivered a street party for over 500 people for Sheffield City Council as part of the regeneration of the Castlegate area of the city.”

As well as managing Rite Trax, Michael is a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and he also volunteers for several local drug and alcohol awareness charities.

“Just like Jackie, I want to keep people out of prison and give young people something meaningful and creative to do with their time,” concludes Michael. “We all have problems in our lives and Rite Trax gives people the space to be themselves for a few hours and, hopefully, provides them with the inspiration and motivation they need to achieve their own goals.”