A housing provider in Newcastle has helped a group of Syrian refugees to open their own social enterprise café in their local library.
Lazeez Kitchen is named after the Arabic word for delicious, and it will serve traditional Middle Eastern cuisine from Fenham Library in the city’s West End.
The café is being supported by Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), the city council’s Support Employment Service, and Newcastle City of Sanctuary to help refugees settle into their new life in the UK.
The founders of the social enterprise were themselves resettled in Newcastle under the Government’s Refugee Resettlement Programme.
The aim of Lazeez Kitchen is to help resettled refugees gain valuable employment skills and training, whilst also developing their English language skills and support integration into the local community.
The community café provides an opportunity for resettled refugees to share the catering skills they have brought with them for the benefit the whole community.
YHN’s Refugee Move-On team, which provides accommodation and support to people that have been recently granted leave to stay in the UK, came up with the idea of launching a community café to help resettled families overcome some of the challenges they face.
Helen Neal, YHN’s assistant director supported services, said: “We believe that Lazeez Kitchen will provide a valuable bridge to employment and community integration for resettled people coming to live in Newcastle and everyone involved is excited at the benefits the café will bring to our refugee community and customers alike.
“Last summer we held several pop-up cafés across Newcastle to gauge customer response and found that the feedback was overwhelmingly positive so it’s exciting that we now have a more permanent base.”
Main Image: (Left to right) Zainab Ghurair, Husan Al Madael and Mosaab Chahaka.