Volunteers, staff, service users and customers past and present came together to celebrate 20 years of the Green Pepper Cafe, which has broken down barriers and helped hundreds of people to learn essential life skills.

Service users with their certificates in food handlingGreen Pepper Cafe, at Winkfield Resource Centre, Wood Green, was launched by Haringey Council in 1997 as a training project to offer people with learning disabilities the opportunity to gain catering experience, build their confidence and learn new skills to help them get paid or voluntary work.

During the past 20 years, hundreds of people have benefited from support and training at Green Pepper and thousands of hungry diners have enjoyed delicious home cooked meals.

The birthday party last month saw guests come together for a presentation to six of the users who each gained a certificate in food handling. Plenty of food was dished out including lamb cutlets, jerk chicken and Jamaican rice and peas. A special green pepper Café cake was made for the occasion.

Green Pepper first opened in Philip Lane, Tottenham and enjoyed a period at Wolves Lane Garden Centre before moving to the Winkfield in 2015. Team Leader Jenny Smith, who has been at the helm since day one, said: “It was good to see the clients and their parents who have supported us over the years. I’m very proud that some of them have been able to gain voluntary work with the skills they have developed at the café.”

Cllr Bernice Vanier, Haringey Council Cabinet Member for Adults, said:

It’s an honour to be able to celebrate this milestone in the Green Pepper Cafe’s history. For 20 years, the cafe has offered a vital service to local people with learning disabilities, equipping them with practical skills to help them live more independent lives, and building up a loyal customer base in the process. I want to pay thanks to the dedication and commitment of staff, volunteers and customers, whose efforts have made a real difference in the local community.”