Milk is s a new social enterprise café in Glasgow that, as well as offering good quality food and drink in pleasant surroundings will also offer work experience to asylum seeker and refugee women living in the city. Milk, based in Victoria Road ( in the Southside), will provide programme providing women with skills to help them integrate into their new lives, as well as improving their job prospects for the future. In time, Milk hopes to grow and work with other groups in Glasgow who are also attempting to further the opportunities of ethnic minority women. Milk is also running a crowd-funding campaign
to raise £10k in order to purchase some core equipment – currently sitting at just over £8k!!
The project has been growing and developing as an idea between the founders (Gabrielle Cluness and Angela Ireland) following stints of volunteering with the asylum seeker community, as well as their past experience of hospitality and an interest in food and drink made the concept of a social enterprise cafe the perfect fit.
The idea came to the pair while they were travelling in central America; they both realised that they wanted to combine their experiences in hospitality and volunteering in the migrant community to give refugee women a chance to learn cookery skills, improve their English and build confidence in customer-facing roles. Milk will be housed in what used to be the Go Slow Café.
Currently, women who have not received refugee status and working papers cannot categorically work for money in the UK - leading to poverty and destitution within the community, as well as a variety of mental health issues. Milk hopes that, in time, the women they are working with can help shape the business to make it their own, bringing recipes and event ideas inspired by the culture of their home countries to the table.
As Gabrielle says: "It was always really important to us that the project was a mutual exchange of knowledge and skills between us and the participants, as we felt from our own experiences of living somewhere new that it makes you feel rubbish if you are constantly having to accept favours and help all the time”.
They also hope that Milk will help to broaden even more minds in the community and dispel some of racist myths that exist about asylum seekers in Scotland.
Milk opens for business on Saturday 6th
June - see recent STV feature on Milk Cafe
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