Cafelias - The inclusive, accessible space

by Naz Hernandez in Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Total raised £22,812

raised so far



Cafélias will be a play café and a space for families and people with alternative abilities to access food, fun and community, in Oxford

by Naz Hernandez in Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 22nd March 2023 we'd raised £22,352 with 114 supporters in 54 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

Our stretch target will enable us to run more regular groups for young children with alternative abilities during Spring . It will also help us to start designing our play installation and developing our neurodevelopmental activities for those aged 0 - 5 years - including the design of  'play-pods'. These 'pods' will be specifically designed play-spaces that come with activity cards that suggest games or toys that will help further development goals e.g finemotor, gross motor, speech. Activity cards will be made by professionals and help you make the most of the space.

What are we going to use the money for?

The money raised will go towards investing in equipment and setting up a pop-up version of Cafélias between spring and summer 2023. The money will specifically be used to:

1) Run a pop-up café where we test out some of our recipes (and get feedback!) particularly for children and weaning babies. We will also serve food that caters to those who need altered food textures (purée, fork-mashed etc)

2) Invest in equipment/materials to create a play space.

The play space will include alternative communication tools, sensory toys and specialised chairs for different types of physical abilities.

3) Host events to extend our reach in the community and identify with more of local residents. This will also help us network more effectively to find a location to work out of, starting in summer 2023

4) Invest in Cafélias-branded merchandise, which will be sold on our website to help raise more funds that will be invested back into Cafélias

What is Cafélias trying to do?

Oxford currently lacks social spaces catering to the specific needs of people, especially children, with alternative abilities.  The concept is to create an inclusive, accessible space that reduces barriers for carers and people with alternative abilities. 

Our mission is to reduce the isolation of living with (dis)abilities and nurture neurodiversity in Oxford and the surrounds with food, fun and community. A space where the staff understand the challenges you have faced, are facing and will face. Sometimes you just need to be heard, ask for some advice or sit, rest and be fed.

In the short-term we want to provide more opportunities for children aged 0 -5 years and their families to navigate life with alternative abilities (follow our blog to read stories from the community). Our long-term aim will be to become an employer for people with learning difficulties or who are neurodiverse, and equalise their opportunities for meaningful employment.

Why are we doing this?

1673439465_1673439470219.png1673439523_1673439527807.pngCafélias (Caf-eh-lee-ahs) was created in honour of our son, Elias, who died in 2021. He had a genetic condition, Williams-Beuren Syndrome, which affected his heart. He has an identical twin brother (aged 2) who survives and now grows with his own alternative abilities. They also have an older sibling who is aged 4.

My name is Naz and I have been working1673439684_1673439689137.png1673439640_new.jpg as a doctor for ten years. As the mother of a child with alternative abilities, and a healthcare professional, I have learnt first-hand the challenges that Oxford families face to get access to equitable opportunities for their children. I also know how desperately the families of children with alternative abilities need opportunities to socialise and have respite from juggling the many demands on their time. This is why I have founded Cafelias.

I am training as a medical specialist for the healthcare needs of older people. In my medical training, I see many people with dementia, Parkinson's Disease, strokes and multiple conditions of older age. The needs of older people, although different, require similar solutions as those that support young people with alternative abilities. 

There are simple changes that can be made to cafè environments that make them more accessible to all. That includes: specialist equipment such as supported chairs with easy to click straps, food designed for people with swallowing difficulties, safe places to explore, make mess and noise or conversely, find calm. 

Who is supporting us so far?

We already have support from local charities and social groups. These networks will help us create a strong foundation of collaboration and learning from our peers. We are being supported by the eScalate programme and incubator programme, to maximise our impact and development.  

You can find out more, subscribe to our newsletters and blog updates, and contact us on our webpage


This project offered rewards

£100 or more

Spa Legend

Choose this reward for an hour long treatment of your choice from the following options: 1. Full Body Massage 2. Hot Stone Back, Neck & Shoulder + Face and Scalp Massage 3. Full Pedicure 4. Mini Mani and Mini Pedi You will be contacted at the end of the Crowdfunder to arrange a mutual time and place (at one of our pop-ups in a treatment area) for you to redeem this reward. You will have to be available to travel to Oxford.

£10 or more

Virtual High Five!

Donate £10 and we'll provide you with a great big virtual hug and 'Thank You' for supporting #Cafelias

£25 or more

Share your story or social media posts

Donate £25 and we will share a story of your choosing (perhaps a memory of a loved-one who has passed or someone close to your heart who has alternative abilities) or we can repost one of your social posts on our social media to help promote your business [We reserve the right to refuse to share any content that goes against our core values or be seen to cause discrimination or damage to any third parties]

£50 or more

Take a piece of us home!

Donate £50 and we will reward you with a choice of either our exclusive Cafélias-branded travel cup or child's plate and spoon set

£100 or more

Putting your money where its needed!

Donate £100 and we will reward you, not only with a virtual high five but also with a choice of either our exclusive Cafélias-branded travel mug or child's bamboo plate and spoon

£200 or more

The Crowdfunding Champion!

Donate £200 and we will reward you with your choice of a child's weaning set (Cafélias wood plate, bowl and fork/spoon with a silicon cup cover) OR our Café lovers set ( Cafélias travel mug with a choice of a set of speciality coffees or teas)

£500 or more

Crowdfunding Angel

Donate £500 and we will reward you, not only with a choice of a 'weaning box' or 'café lovers box' but also free hot drinks at any of our pop-up events between Spring and Summer 2023

£1,000 or more

The Founders Package

Donate £1000 and we will celebrate you with a dedicated mention on our website as a founder. You will also have your choice of merchandise box (weaning set or cafè lovers box) AND get free hot drinks any of our pop-up events AND get one free hot drink a day for a year when we fully launch

£5,000 or more

Founding member

Donate £5000 and we will recognise you as a founding member on our website with your choice of merchandise (weaning box or café lovers box). We will provide you with free hot drinks during our pop-ups with free hot drink a day for a year once we launch. We will also give you free VIP access to one of our launch events in the future

Show your support

Payment and personal details are protected