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Community cafe in Holyrood spotlight

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Community cafe in Holyrood spotlight

A COMMUNITY cafe in Dumfries has had the chance to showcase unique learning opportunities at a reception in the Scottish Parliament.

The Usual Place in Academy Street were at Holyrood in Edinburgh to promote their work with Dumfries and Galloway College helping young people gain SVQs and employability skills.
Attending the Scottish Colleges Parliamentary Reception, trainee Connor McMillan said: “The MSPs spent time with young people from The Usual Place and were keen to hear about our venture and the lives of young people.”
Fellow trainee David Whittaker, who said: “I felt honoured that The Usual Place was chosen to represent Dumfries and Galloway College at The Scottish Parliament.
“I was also pleased to be chosen by the staff team to attend because this acknowledged my skills and achievements and I felt a sense of pride and achievement.”
The Usual Place say there are few opportunities for young people with Additional Support Needs (ASN) to achieve meaningful vocational success in the region.
The Usual Place and Dumfries and Galloway College have created a unique training and accreditation partnership, enabling young people with ASN to achieve externally assessed mainstream SQA accredited qualifications in a real workplace environment.
Trainees aged 16–26 have a variety of personal challenges to finding meaningful work, including learning disabilities, autism, mental health problems and physical impairment .
Dumfries and Galloway College deliver Level 1 SVQ in Food Preparation and Cooking and the Food and Beverage Service qualifications in The Usual Place.
The college’s business development manager Alison Jardine said: “The college has been working in collaboration with The Usual Place for a number of years to establish a very successful partnership that delivers a range of vocational and certificated qualification to the young people and volunteers involved with the project.”
Speaking after the visit to the Scottish Parliament, Usual Place chairwoman Amy Wright said: “We had a great time talking to various MSPs and representatives from other colleges.
“I must send a massive thank you to MSP Colin Smyth for our tour, debating chamber tickets and food, and also to MSP Oliver Mundell for being there to support us too.”

SERVING UP . . . Connor McMillan and chef Tony
SERVING UP . . . Connor McMillan and chef Tony
POLITCAL ENCOUNTER . . . MSP Oliver Mundell meets representatives
POLITCAL ENCOUNTER . . . MSP Oliver Mundell meets representatives

Dumfries and West, Front

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