29 September 2023

Minstead Trust runs several successful social enterprises, including a garden, theatre, jam company and wedding venues.

These social enterprises offer crucial work experience for people with learning disabilities to try and tackle the chronically low levels of employment among this group. Our businesses also generate income that allows the Trust to go above and beyond in caring for the people we support – helping them to follow their passions and live life to the full.

In April 2022, we opened Brickyard café at The Brickworks Museum in Bursledon. We were excited to serve museum visitors, offer new work opportunities and to be part of a whole new community.

Unfortunately, the footfall following Covid was much lower than expected and despite the best efforts of our fabulous staff, the café is simply not making enough money for us to provide work experience or generate an income for the Trust.

We have let the museum know that we will be shutting the café on the 10 December, after the Museum’s event on this day.

Naturally, we are disappointed, but it is important that we make decisions that contribute to the success of the charity as a whole – sometimes that means recognising when something isn’t quite working. We passionately believe in the impact our social businesses can make in changing society’s perceptions of people with learning disabilities.

It is crucial that we continue to have a strong roster of profitable businesses to support our work in improving the lives of people with learning disabilities. Social care funding is broken, with rates increasing below inflation and often only covering the basic needs of the people we support.

We are committed to going beyond just offering basic care and instead, giving people the support they need to live truly independent and fulfilled lives where they thrive and don’t just survive. But this is expensive. Meaning our businesses need to provide the income needed to top up support and help us go so much further in transforming society for people with learning disabilities.

So, despite the closure of the Brickyard Café, we are committed to improving and expanding our social enterprises to offer even more opportunities and backing for the people we support.

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