A CROWDFUNDING campaign to develop a training kitchen and café has been launched to help "vulnerable" clients develop skills and confidence.

Launched by Old Sarum Garden Centre, which is run by Salisbury-based charity Alabaré, bosses are hoping to raise £6,000.

They say this will enable the centre to upcycle two shipping containers which will be converted into a café, serving food for customers whilst also offering the opportunity for locals to obtain both retail and catering qualifications.

Funding for this project will enable the centre to increase its capacity by an extra five spaces.

The centre, which champions the motto of "We don't just grow plants, we grow people", offers meaningful activity opportunities to those with autism and learning disabilities,

Markus Fanti, centre manager at Old Sarum Garden Centre, said: “The funds raised from this campaign will be vitally important. Not only will the kitchen/diner area allow us to provide a fourth activity at the centre for our clients but it would also allow them to access qualifications and offer them a better chance of employment. It will also help them to learn about healthy eating and about serving customers. We are hoping to get the community involved alongside a positive working environment for our clients.”

At present a total of 45 clients are supported each week by the centre, with approximately 50% having a learning disability and a further 40% being autistic.

John is one of the clients who visits the centre and spoke of his excitement for the new plans;

He said: “The centre is important to me as it gives me somewhere to come. I’ve got so many friends here and the staff here are really good. It’s just a nice, comfortable warm place to come to and it’s really fun. The idea of the kitchen is great as it will help everyone and bring in more business as well.”

To support the campaign, visit: chuffed.org/project/oldsarum