The Café@264 was opened in September 2019. Upon opening, Ben started working for The Ashley Foundation at the café. We sat down to discuss his appointment to The Ashley Foundation team.
Good afternoon Ben, can you give me a brief description of who you are?
“I am a 16-year-old from Blackpool. I have recently completed my high school education at a local school. I did okay at GCSE level, aiming and achieving my goals, particularly in Maths, English and Catering.”
What did you know about The Ashley Foundation before you started your current role?
“Before I started working for The Ashley Foundation, I didn’t know who they were or what they did, which is a shame. I want The Ashley Foundation to be more known because of all the work it does to help the homeless. People are aware that many people are homeless but don’t necessarily do much to help, but The Ashley Foundation do help and make a difference. A lot of the homeless population are homeless because of circumstances that aren’t necessarily their fault.”
What made you apply to The Ashley Foundation?
“I want to help the homeless as it is important to me to help others. I also enjoy cooking. Being a chef and working for a charity whilst doing what I enjoy is more rewarding than just working in a generic café as I feel I’m giving something back. I also serve customers from The Ashley Foundation and enjoy talking to them about their background, hearing their stories interests me.”
You currently work at The [email protected] Do you have any experience working in the catering industry before?
“I’ve previously done some work at a hotel, serving guests there. I aim to be a manager of a cafe in the Ashley Foundation. I have recently enrolled on an apprenticeship in catering, studying at a local college whilst working here. The apprenticeship lasts for two years.”
What made you want to work in the catering industry?
“I came in to catering due to cooking meals at home. I did some cooking at weekends as I enjoyed it so the decision came from home life. I wasn’t entirely sure of my career path though before I started working here, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do, but this role has helped me see my career path and what I want to do in the future. I am ambitious too; I want to continue working for the Ashley Foundation beyond the apprenticeship. I aim to be a manager of a café for The Ashley Foundation one day.”
What is your favourite food to make?
“My favourite thing to make is soup. Making a homemade soup takes a lot of time, effort and planning but at the end it’s rewarding. My favourite one to make is a family recipe Curried Bacon and Lentil soup which is popular with the customers. It took a couple of hours to make between two of us. Come in and try it, it is occasionally a special.”
What’s the hardest thing to make?
“Biscuits are the most frustrating things to make because they take a long time to make and they’re not always successful but we learn from it, adapting the recipe if needs be. The Christmas biscuits were made and decorated by us.”
Thank you for this interview, do you have anything you’d like to add?
“We have a fantastic team here who have helped me settle in to working life from school. The staff are all here to help at the Ashley Foundation. We all care about people, looking after the residents and the staff. We enjoy engaging with members of public.”
We would like to thank Ben for taking part in this interview.