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Our Story

Established in 2017 by Zoe Rodda & family

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Lily's Social Kitchen Birthday
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A passion for people and changing perceptions

Let them SHOW what they can do!

Lily’s was established in July 2017 by Zoe Rodda and her family. Zoe has worked in social care since 1996 and primarily with people who have a diagnosis of autism and learning disabilities in a variety of settings.

From 1996 until the present day she saw how our society has changed in its perception of people with disabilities and how our communities have become more inclusive. From the closure of long stay institutions and moving people into small group homes which was followed by a supported living model in which people had their own home and their own front door. People with disabilities are now seen in our communities, shopping, enjoying a meal out but are not represented in our workforces.

Worker with Down Syndrome serving customers
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Alongside this is a passion for food, the impact of fresh food on our health, both physical and mental, our communities and on the planet. An understanding of how our social lives are now so fragmented (further compounded by the pandemic) particularly how the population we work with continue to be socially isolated with their support networks often being family members and/or people who are paid to support them.

With all this in mind the opening of a community café seemed to be the best way to provide fresh food, a social environment and as the vehicle to provide training and employment opportunities. We wished to use this to showcase the skills and employability of our workforce to other local businesses – an ethos of let them SHOW what they can do as opposed to TELL you what they can do.

Thanks to support from the local community, our friends and family, funders we have been able to expand our service and provide more opportunities than she ever dreamt we would be able to offer.

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