A CHARITABLE café in Alloa is hoping to attract more customers for breakfast to expand opportunities for those benefiting from work placement experiences.

The Makers Café, a part of Scottish Autism, has been popular with lunchtime customers there are often no tables left, but the mornings remain somewhat quieter.

The purpose of the café is not to raise funds for its parent charity, but solely to give people with an autism spectrum disorder or learning disabilities a chance to engage in meaningful work, build skills and confidence.

And so the call out for morning customers, who can order anything off the regular menu or simply take away a hot roll, is to make sure there is enough to do in the kitchen and on the front of house team for those engaging with opportunities to work.

The not-for-profit operation, based at the Makers Village in Alloa, is financially sound, but the aim now is to make sure individuals have the chance to build their skills and confidence throughout the day.

Laura Morgan, autism practitioner at the café, told the Advertiser: "We don't use this place for profits or fundraising, it's purely about the opportunity.

"The mornings tend to be quite quiet – we are still covering our money – but there's less opportunity to participate in the morning with specific skills."

She said the current set up makes sure Makers covers its costs, but customers often suggest prices could be inflated to generate more cash.

However, Laura added: "We aren't looking to use the café as an opportunity to fundraise, we are very lucky that we have a lot of people in Scotland who are willing to fundraise for us.

"Makers' sole purpose is to have an opportunity for the guys to access the local community in a positive work environment. That's the ethos behind it."

Laura added: "We do occasionally have busy mornings in the café, where it's a lot of breakfasts, French toast, morning rolls.

"If it was a wee bit more steady; a wee bit more frequent, they could take more ownership; more responsibility in those tasks as a learning experience.

"Even teaching lunches, when it comes to learning how to make the sandwiches, if you are only making one certain thing, like an egg mayo sandwich, maybe once a day or once a week, you are not getting the full opportunity to perfect it."

The good efforts at the café have not gone unrecognised either, as the night before speaking to the Advertiser the Makers team were Highly Commended in the Scottish Café Awards 2019 scooping the certificate at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow.