Who Are We?
We’re Aubergine Café: a non-profit social enterprise that serves affordable and delicious plant-based food. Based in Cathays Community Centre, Aubergine Cafe is owned and staffed entirely by Autistic and Neurodivergent (ND) people.
You may have seen us featured on
- ITV News - Autistic cafe owners create jobs for others with autism in Cardiff
- BBC One - Talk Disability, Invisible Disabilities, Selena
- The Aubergine Cafe - BBC Radio Wales with Kizzie Crawford
What Do We Do?
Our mission is to create safe and inclusive spaces for multiply-marginalised Neurodivergent people to work, learn skills, access culture and community, and exist as their authentic selves without feeling the need to mask any part of their identity. We aim is to combat loneliness and isolation in autistic people, facilitate community building among ND people in Wales and to provide an example of inclusive working practices to other businesses.
We provide living wage employment and training for Autistic/ND adults, and an inclusive platform for cultural enrichment for the Neurodivergent community, hosting a variety of arts activities such as exhibitions, open mic nights and creative workshops.
How You Can Help?
Four years ago we called on our community to help us secure new premises at Clare Street in Riverside. You answered that call and we raised 128% of our £3000 goal.
Thanks to your generosity and a lot of hard work from our team and supporters in the community we made Clare Street our home. We made some beautiful memories and achieved some amazing things at Clare Street in spite of the difficulties thrown up by the pandemic. We’ve seen friendships blossom at Aubergine. We’ve seen autistic joy, laughter, creativity, love and comradeship flourish within the walls of our little café on the corner. Some tell us it’s their second home. A refuge. A place where they feel ‘normal’ because they are.
Sadly, our time at Clare Street has come to an end. It’s been hard to leave the place behind but we've found Aubergine a new home at Cathays Community Centre and we're not exaggerating when we say it's PERFECT for us.
Cathays and Central Youth and Community Project are a fantastic grassroots organisation that works for people and not for profit just like us. They share so much of our ethos and provide safer spaces and opportunities to many of the same marginalised groups we do. We’ll also be right next to Cardiff University in a vibrant student neighbourhood providing a much-needed accessible alternative social venue and affordable food and drink. We’ll be stocking freshly made bread from our new kitchen-mates, Riverside Sourdough and contributing to the Centres community fridge which makes free food available to local people struggling with food insecurity.
We are so excited to be setting up shop here and it’s been really encouraging to see how engaged our supporters and followers have been with our relocation.
But relocating a business is a costly endeavour. We’ll need to replace some things that we can’t take with us. The space itself is going to need some fixing up in order to make it work for us. That’s why we need your help now to get Aubergine Café back up and running this Summer.
What Your Donations Will Pay For
Here's what your donations to our Crowdfunder will help us pay for.
- £1800 Our first 3 month’s rent and utilities. The landlord dispute has been a financial drain and this will give us a vital cushion in the early months after reopening while we expect things will be quiet.
- £900: Restocking our kitchen. We won’t be able to take any of the food and ingredients with us so we’ll need to refill our cupboards and fridges before we can start serving great plant-based food again.
- £200 Storage units/shelves: Space is at a premium in our new kitchen so we’ll need some extra storage solutions.
- £800: An upright freezer that will fit in our new kitchen which is a little smaller than our old one.
- £450: Materials and tools for redecorating the café and bringing it back up to spec so that we can retain our excellent hygiene rating of 5.
- £300: Signage! The sign out front still says WildThing so we’ll need to change that.
- £800: Kitchen equipment that suits our needs like quiet coffee machines and milk frothers.
- £300: Screens for Cwtches: We want to create some privacy screens for the seating area to create allow our patrons more control over their sensory environment by cutting down noise and visual distress.
- £18000: Staffing: Many of us have been voluntarily working without pay since October and we've been unable to retain all our loyal staff due to the financial strain we've been under. We need these funds in order to continue paying our autistic staff a real living wage and to reimburse them retrospectively for their dedication and hard work over the past 6 months despite the difficulties and hardships we've endured.
- £480: Training: The new space will take some getting used to and our staff will need retraining in order to adapt to the new pace and rhythm of working here. Training will cover things such as Neurodivergency, Self-advocacy, Food Hygiene, First Aid, Fire Safety, Food preparation and cooking skills, and Customer service skills.
Please give what you can to help us give Aubergine Cafe a new life in a new place where we can get back to doing what we set out to do 4 years ago. Help us make our new premises a home for autistic joy!