News from the shops

St John's & Small Batch

St Johns Logo

We have several charity partners whom we work with and so here's our Head of Training and Development Laura to tell you all about St Johns

St John’s College first opened its doors in 1886 as a seaside convalescent home. In 1956 it transformed into a school for children with learning disabilities with the aim of providing education, care and support for their learners. Today, the college is the home of innovative and inspirational learning. As an SEN (special educational needs) school and specialist college they provide education, care and medical therapy to young people aged 7 – 25. Their mission statement is to “more than anything else, transform lives. Make a real and practical difference to the young people who access our services and embrace the unique diversity they present. Enable them to achieve their goals and aspirations; to reach out and achieve the possible; to live their lives to the full; to feel valued and respected and with self worth.”

Learners at St Johns

The college has two campuses – Brighton and Seaford. I have been lucky enough to visit both in different capacities. The more time I have spent at the college, with the learners and with the staff, the more I have been blown away by what is achieved and how. I first heard of the college because of their work-based learning and work experience program. St John’s approached Small Batch about possibly providing a work experience placement for one of their learners. There are a number of cafes who participate, Mad Hatters, Marmalade, Anne of Cleaves House to name a few. The college provides a lot of support with learners who are on placement to both the learner and the café. As we sat down to hear more about how the work experience would work, we heard more about the college itself and seemed to find a lot of areas that we felt we could become involved with. I was invited for a tour of the college, which I eagerly accepted. I was particularly interested in the work-based learning programs. The focus at the college is completely on the individual, what do they have interest in, what skills do they have? The college involves learners in every possible aspect of the college, all based on the individual and their interest in the particular area.

Their work-based learning currently encompasses the following:

Scrummies Café – feeds over 140 people, 5 days a week! I was lucky enough to have a delicious lunch here as part of my tour. They have a full production kitchen and deli responsible for providing breakfast and lunch. Learners working here will be responsible for preparing and serving breakfasts and lunches, as well as hot drinks for staff and other learners. The customer service in the café was excellent, another important part of the role.

Scrummies Cafe

Flourish – responsible for maintaining outdoor spaces and grounds at the college. Participating learners also cultivate and care for plants that go on sale in the community.


Inspirations – the Inspirations Shop sells a variety of items such as wrapping paper, mugs and t-shirts all designed by learners. The shop itself is in-house and run by learners, but they also take Inspirations out on the road as pop up shops in the community. We acted as host for the first Small Batch Inspirations pop up at Jubilee Street last week. This will be an on-going event in our cafes, so watch out for further information and dates coming up. Norfolk Square will be the next pop up venue in January, so do come and check it out with a coffee.

Inspirations at Jubilee

Inklusion – Inklusion Print is a dedicated social enterprise producing a variety of products for not only the college but also external organisations. Our Christmas cards (now available in all stores) were printed by Inklusion Print and designed by learners as part of Inklusion Studio. Learners create the designs in the studio for print in the shop and then sale in Inspirations shop and pop ups. – provide IT support for the entire organisation. Learners solve problems and issues that staff might have with technology along with teaching staff and other learners how to use equipment for their roles. generate digital content for use within the college.

Solutions – supply stationary to the whole organisation as well as administrative support to core services such as marketing, HR and finance. Foundations – the St John’s maintenance team who look after the buildings inside and out. Learners help to take care of repairs, painting and decorating, carpentry and electrical work and building inspections.

Productions – St John’s host a lively calendar of performing arts events. Through Productions learners participate in arts events such as the Reveals festival. We were invited along to serve coffee at Reveals festival, an annual celebration event held at the end of the summer term. It was an awesome event full of music, dance, performance, face painting, fancy dress and fun! The Productions team not only participate, but produce promotional videos for these events and assist with lighting and technical support.

Resonance – is a recording studio and rehearsal space. Learners here compose, perform and produce music. You can listen to some of their work on soundcloud

Harmonies – a music café complete with stage and lighting. Learners prepare and serve hot drinks and food. They also organise and set up performances hosted in the café.

Leaners at the Pro Baristas Course

As the college have 2 busy cafes on site we thought that some coffee training could be helpful and fun. We decided to partner with another charity that we support, ProBaristas, and run a 6 week version of our SCAE Barista Skills Foundation course. 9 learners completed the espresso and milk skills course, all with success. Across the weeks we covered grinder calibration (perfecting the flavour of the espresso), espresso preparation (following critical steps for ensuring the espresso tastes great every time) milk preparation (steaming and pouring the perfect latte and cappuccino), machine and grinder cleaning and care and finally, customer service.

Pro Barista Course

As a celebration at the end of the course, my coffee students came along to the Inspirations pop up and Jubilee and helped with a St John’s take over of the café, assisting behind the bar making coffee, serving drinks and clearing tables. We have found working with St John’s to be inspiring, fun and accessible. St John’s are always looking for ways for learners to engage in the community and for the community to support their work. If you would like to know more about them or become involved yourself, then visit their website and get in touch with Nicholas Cross, Development Officer Alternatively, keep up to date with how you can become involved through us, be it with a Christmas card, a visit to the next pop Inspirations or community book drive as at Norfolk Square this month. Thank you to all who have supported these projects already, we look forward to seeing you in 2017.