A NEW cafe that focuses on supporting vulnerable groups in the community is preparing for its launch event this weekend.

With a wealth of experience in the hospitality, education, and beauty industries, Lay'ah Rachel found herself out of work following a degenerative disease diagnosis in 2020.

Moving to Tyldesley from Wales a year later, Lay'ah had her eye on starting up a company where she could use her skills and experience while also supporting the vulnerable in the community.

After gaining contacts and necessary funds from her temporary Mexican pop-up kitchen 'Juanitas', Lay'ah's vision is almost complete as 'Cafe Camaraderie' launches from the Startwell Centre on Poplar Street, Tyldesley, on Saturday, April 22.

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Leigh Journal: Sonia, one of the volunteers at Cafe CamaraderieSonia, one of the volunteers at Cafe Camaraderie (Image: Cafe Camaraderie)

With a community focus, the cafe will offer low-cost food to those struggling with the cost of living crisis, mental or physical health problems, as well as other issues such as bereavement or unemployment.

The volunteer-led team will also lead accredited training programmes designed to get people back into work, including hair and beauty, holistic therapy, first aid, and food hygiene courses.

Leigh Journal: Lay'ah wanted to set up a community-focused cafe that built on her own experiencesLay'ah wanted to set up a community-focused cafe that built on her own experiences (Image: Lay'ah Rachel)

Lay'ah said: "With Cafe Camaraderie, we really want to target the vulnerable groups in the community to boost their confidence, give them the skills to get back into work, and help them on their journey to recovery.

"It's a result of my own experiences in the workplace and my diagnosis that I've wanted to create the cafe, because my mental health did take a hit after being out of work and I know how it can be a transformative thing.

"So Cafe Camaraderie will offer support from people who have been through similar experiences and want to bridge the gaps to recovery or employment." 

Leigh Journal: A selection of the low-cost food on offer at Cafe CamaraderieA selection of the low-cost food on offer at Cafe Camaraderie (Image: Cafe Camaraderie)

In addition to its own offerings, Cafe Camaraderie will also collaborate with local organisations in order to better target vulnerable groups, broaden their support network and signpost people to further help.

The cafe will also host weekly 'Macmillan Mondays' events to support people affected by cancer, while external activities and the revival of 'Juanitas' are possible, Lay'ah said, to support the running of the new community cafe.

With live entertainment and family-friendly activities planned, Cafe Camaraderie's free launch event will take place at Tyldesley's Startwell Centre from 10:30am to 1:30pm on Saturday, April 22.