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Phoenix Blend named as Sainsbury’s 'Charity of the Year'

Staff from Sainsbury’s London Bell Lane Local

Staff from Sainsbury’s London Bell Lane Local meet up with service users and employees from Phoenix Blend Café, which has just been named as the grocery store’s charity of the year.

A coffee shop with a difference in central London is celebrating after being chosen by a supermarket as its nominated charity of the year.

Phoenix Blend Café/Supported Employment service, in Bell Lane, near Liverpool Street station, has been named as ‘Charity of the Year’ by nearby food store, Sainsbury’s London Bell Lane Local. The announcement means the store will support the charity via fundraising and various events throughout the next 12 months.

Phoenix Blend, which is owned and run by social care charity Vibrance, offers a community hub for people of all abilities. It also offers supported employment opportunities for adults with disabilities.

Sainsbury’s London Bell Lane Local manager, Mihir Patel, said Phoenix Blend had been an obvious choice for him when choosing a new charity to support.

Mr Patel said: “I’ve always used the coffee shop since I took over at Bell Lane. Apart from the excellent coffee, the relationship between our team and the staff and service users at Phoenix Blend is excellent. We’ve built up a good community rapport and positive relationship, and have been involved with the charity in terms of donating Christmas props and decorations, and Sports Relief goodies.”

“We enjoy meeting the service users when they come in to do their shopping and we hope that over the next year, we will get to know them a lot better by spending more time with them.”

“We also hope Vibrance and Phoenix Blend will have the opportunity to hold in-store events which will give them the chance to tell the local community about the excellent work they do,” he added.

Vibrance new Business and Fundraising Manager, Shani Reid, said the charity was thrilled about the partnership.

“We were delighted when we found out – it really means a lot to us,” said Ms Reid.

“It’s a fantastic honour and we’re very grateful to Mihir and Sainsbury’s Local for their support. At Vibrance, we strive to build close relationships between our services and the communities within which they’re based. This relationship will help us to achieve that ambition.”

Phoenix Blend Cafe opened its doors in July 2012. The Cafe opens 8am-4pm, Monday to Friday. It serves a great cup of coffee and provides supported employment opportunities, and a community base group for the people using the service.

Vibrance supports 850 adults throughout London and the South East with learning disabilities and mental health issues. It offers a range of community day services, low-support housing, nursing and care homes, short breaks, supported employment and self-directed services.

The organisation employs around 400 people and was named in The Sunday Times ‘100 Best Companies To Work For’ in 2012.

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Registered Charity Number 1152186. A Company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, number 8466095.
Registered Office: Unit 2, Caxton Place, Roden Street, Ilford, Essex, IG1 2AH