A charity will be moving their popular ‘Cafe in the Library’ outside this summer after support from Watford Borough Council in obtaining a new pavement café license.

Set within Watford Central Library, the café offers users and members of the public a place to enjoy a cup of coffee and cake, with all proceeds going to Watford Mencap. Staff and volunteers support trainees with learning disabilities to develop vital skills which they can then transfer into the future workplace.

Opened in 2017, with funding from the council and Watford Community Housing amongst other organisations, the café is about to embark on another exciting journey for their community hub. To reopen safely in line with Covid-19 guidelines and also to utilise the unused area outside the library, the charity will be adding tables, furniture, banners and an outdoor takeaway service later this month.

This area has already seen some improvements to liven up this part of the town, including two new outdoor table tennis tables to make the sport more accessible and give people more opportunity to be active, by offering a place to meet, relax and enjoy a quick game all for free. When it is deemed safe to do, equipment will available via the café.

Jane Pattinson, chief executive at Watford Mencap, said: “When you have a learning disability, it’s for life, and it’s something that can make it difficult to learn, understand, or relate to other people. The aim of our café is to combat the prejudice and social isolation that people with learning disabilities face on a daily basis.

"Our café is an environment where people with learning disabilities can learn new skills, enjoy new experiences and gain confidence, as well as raise awareness of learning disabilities and bring the local community together in a positive and progressive way. I’m over the moon that the café can reopen and look forward to welcoming the community back.”

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “We have been able to respond quickly to enable the town’s cafes and restaurants to have tables and chairs outside their premises free of charge, and I’m really happy we have been able to support Watford Mencap’s ‘Cafe in the Library’ as well.

"Mencap do amazing work and with all the café proceeds going to Watford Mencap, the council swiftly actioned their licensing application and assisted with their reopening plans. Opening the café outdoors will provide the trainees with an opportunity to work in a safe environment and rebuild their confidence.”

The café will be reopening later this month and you can find out more at watfordmencap.org.uk/cafe_in_the_library