Cafe with a difference opens on Fishponds Road

A CAFE and shop with a difference has opened its doors on Fishponds Road.

Crafted by Props is creating work and training opportunities for people with learning disabilities.

Around 15 trainees will work at the cafe each week, serving food and drink, developing recipes in the kitchen or creating handmade products in the workshop, including graphic prints and crafts which are then put on sale.

Charity Props, which is based at the Vassall Centre, first unveiled plans for the cafe, which is next to the Manor Road junction, at the beginning of last year.

More than half of the £100,000 cost of the project has been met by donations from supporters or free work, supplies and support from builders and other businesses.

Props describes the new cafe as a “welcoming and inclusive venue that serves and celebrates the diverse needs and perspectives of everyone in the community, especially those too often excluded from accessing public spaces”. 

It includes a main cafe area, servery, workshop and a quiet room, with calming lighting and an artificial skylight.

There are shelves and displays of prints, clothes and other gifts around the side of the main seating area.

It is the latest in a series of social enterprises to give work opportunities to adults with learning disabilities, following Props’ cafe at the Vassall Centre and the Tapestry by Props brewery in St Philip’s.

Props trainees cut the ribbon to open the cafe

Opening as a daytime cafe on Wednesdays to Saturdays, from 10am to 4pm, it will reopen in the evenings as a Tapestry by Props bar, serving craft beer brewed by Props trainees, from 5pm to 10pm on Thursdays to Saturdays from November 17.

Props head of operations Lara Jaffey said: “We finally have somewhere to showcase the vibrant talent of adults who have learning disabilities, through handmade artisan products, artwork, food and drink.

A Props trainee making a design for one of the products on sale in the shop. Picture: Bella Peatfield/Props

“It’s a place where creativity meets inclusivity, and we are excited to share it with our community.”

Props says its enterprises are opening up opportunities to gain skills and work, from cooking and customer service to brewing and sewing, for people who otherwise face “many barriers” to work.

Some of the Props trainees who are working at the cafe

Crafted by Props enterprise manager Ruby Summerell said: “As the face of our high streets is changing, the vision for Crafted by Props is to provide a model for how high street spaces can evolve to become accessible, inclusive social and creative hubs for everyone in the local community.”

As well as its staff supporting the trainees, Props is keen to attract volunteers from the community to work in the cafe.

For more details visit

Props trainees and staff at the charity’s other cafe, at the Vassall Centre in Oldbury Court. Picture: Bella Peatfield/Props