Success brewing at Cope’s coffee shop which has its ‘Roots’ in UCC

March 31st, 2023 5:10 PM

By Southern Star Team

John Paul from Bandon busy working at the Roots café in UCC this week. (Photo: Brian Lougheed)

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A COFFEE shop set up by Cope Foundation to provide work experience and employment opportunities for young people with intellectual disabilities, including one young man from Bandon, has celebrated its third birthday. 

Roots UCC is located in the university’s student centre, The Hub, and has been a firm favourite with students, staff and locals since it first opened in the spring of 2020.  Up to 50 people supported by Cope Foundation have obtained work experience since then with 15 of these securing full time employment as a result of the skills learned at the coffee shop.

Sustainability is an important part of Roots UCC.  There are no disposable take away cups and any food that is not sold on the day is donated to staff and students in UCC.

John Paul from Bandon has been part of the team for more than a year and is hoping the skills he’s learned during that time will help him secure full time employment in the workforce. 

‘Roots UCC is a great place to work, to learn new skills and gain valuable experience,’ he said. ‘I can now make flat whites and mochas and I’ve made a few friends along the way. I’m currently looking for proper work so hopefully some place will be hiring, they will have a look at my CV, think that it looks good and give me a job.’

Roots UCC is open from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday and the trainees are serving as many as 200 cups of coffee a day during these hours.  

Louise McDonald, staff member of Cope Foundation, has been involved with Roots UCC since its inception and said that the coffee shop has overcome the many challenges they were forced to endure during Covid-19 and continues to grow.

Sean Abbott, chief executive of Cope Foundation, said it was a fantastic opportunity for the people supported by Cope Foundation to learn invaluable skills in a busy working environment.  

‘Not only are they learning how to make a great cup of coffee but they’re dealing with the public every day and these interactions are so important in their development.’

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