Channel 4 presenter Kirstie Allsopp visits Birch Tree Cafe at Easton-on-the-Hill to open a new workshop for young adults with Down’s Syndrome
A television presenter opened a new workshop for young adults with Down’s Syndrome.
Kirstie Allsopp unveiled a plaque at Birch Tree Cafe in Easton-on-the-Hill on Saturday to officially open the work space.
Her godson Cosmo Rock is among those supported by the cafe, which provides employment and learning opportunities for young people with the condition.
Kirstie said: “I wasn’t able to visit until earlier this summer but I was overwhelmed by what has been achieved. People think the cafe is for the benefit of the young people but it’s much more than that. It’s for the benefit of the customers, the staff and the wider community.”
Birch Tree was packed with friends, family and supporters for the short ceremony and cutting of the cake.
Kirstie told the crowd she was there in her role as Cosmo’s godmother, having met his parents Miranda and Orlando Rock, directors of Burghley House, through her father’s work at Christie’s auction house.
She said: "Whenever I’m talking to Cosmo about what he is doing here and the people he has met, there is a real sense of purpose and pride.”
The new workshop was funded by Cummins Generator Technologies, which paid for the ground works, building and equipment.
Workshop manager Lee O’Connor runs sessions for three days a week for the 29 young adults supported by Birch Tree. They have already been learning about workshop safety and are now taking orders for personalised Christmas decorations.
Lee, whose 13-year-old son Teddy has Down’s Syndrome, said: “They’re working together, listening, using fine motor skills and developing new skills for life.”
Cafe worker Luke, who has Down’s Syndrome, told the crowd: “We really enjoy coming out here and doing amazing work in the workshop. Thank you to the amazing team.”
Kirstie, who is known for presenting Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas on Channel 4, received a personalised penguin decoration and a key ring. She joked: “I’m always thrilled to receive a present with my name spelled correctly!
“I’m a great believer that every Christmas decoration should have a story and there’s something very special about receiving a gift which has been made with heart.”
Customers can order their own personalised decorations using forms available in the cafe, based in New Road.
Birch Tree Cafe opened in January 2022 and won two titles at the Mercury Business Awards this year.