The Almond Tree cafe in Hawick High Street is offering work placements to young and vulnerable people – and is putting all profits back into Borders youth projects.
Launched by Jenni and Andrew Green this summer, the cafe is staffed by volunteers, as well as job-share managers and a volunteer co-ordinator.
It was the couple’s involvement in the community that prompted them to establish a new charity and the cafe.
Jenni said: “We’re members of Hawick Community Baptist Church, where we’re involved with the local youth group, which has 25 members.
“It became clear to us that some will go to university, others will have no problem finding work, but a number of them, for many reasons, including ADHD, social disadvantage and learning difficulties, will struggle.
“It’s this category of youth that has inspired the project.”
She added: “We’ve received very generous donations, words of encouragement and gifts of items, along with expertise, offers of volunteering and support from the community council. We’ve been told that members of the public are proud of what they feel they are able to do for their own youth, and pleased to see an empty building brought back to life.”
The cafe still requires more volunteers, but Jenni and Andrew are planning ahead.
“It’s still early days, but we have lots of exciting plans, which include expanding our takeaway facility, raising funds for more equipment and building up our rota of local artists to display their work in the cafe,” Jenni said.
“We’re also looking forward to bringing into place some more of our charitable aims.
“We aspire to be a listening ear, and a help with form-filling and sign-posting those with debt problems to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.”
The couple have been assisted along the way by Business Gateway Scottish Borders.
Business adviser Annie Watt said: “The Almond Tree is a really positive boost to the area. We’ve been delighted to support this charitable venture and will continue to work with Jenni and Andrew.”