Buttercream Dreams, Croydon’s new vegan café, which opened last month, plan to provide work placements for vulnerable adults.
Before embarking on her new business venture, owner Lauren Adderley was a mental health nurse and worked with people with personality disorders and acute mental health issues and with homelessness charity St Mungos.
Although she has undertaken a huge career change, Adderley plans to make use of her valuable nursing experience in Buttercream Dreams, which is in Middle Street. Adderley, 25, said: “I would love to intertwine the two and offer work placements to people with mental health problems and people in recovery to allow them to build their confidence, easing them back into work with the support and encouragement they need.”
The ex-Westwood Girls school pupil is passionate about respecting and nurturing all life and wants to help people who have suffered mental ill-health and homelessness to get back on their feet.
“While working in St Mungos, I saw how valuable it was for people to have stability when dealing with their mental health issues. When you’re homeless, your confidence is on the floor and getting a job is so difficult because you just don’t feel good enough for anything. Adding mental health problems to that situation makes it even more difficult so that’s why I want to offer support here in my business,” Adderley said.
On February 1 the Government’s Mental Health Taskforce released its new five-year plan for mental health in the NHS. The strategy highlights that common mental health problems are over twice as high among people who are homeless compared with the general population and that people who have experienced homelessness, poor housing and traumatic events are at a higher risk of experiencing mental ill-health.
Adderley is keen for her work force to be representative of people from all backgrounds and non-vegans are welcome too. She said: “It is really important for me that our staff are not all vegan because that’s not what the cafe is about. I want people to feel comfortable to come in, try new, interesting food and learn and better themselves at the same time.”
She has been vegan for three and a half years and is very passionate about her lifestyle choice and creating affordable inventive vegan food. She said: “When a customer says, ‘that was a really good meal and it didn’t need any meat,’ we know we’re doing something right!”
The cafe offers a variety of different dishes for customers to choose from and enjoy. With a mixture of sweet dishes, such as the blueberry and lemon polenta cake and chocolate, cashew and raspberry energy balls, along side savoury specials such as vegan burgers.
Adderely is also planning to hold events geared towards children and vegan families as she recognises a gap in the market. “If parents of vegan children want to hold a birthday party, they have to organise it and do the catering themselves. There is no where in Croydon where they can go. Camden and east London are amazing for vegans but I feel like south is lacking so that is definitely something I would love to provide in the future.”