THE closure of Daisies Cafe at Mount Zion in Lurgan has been described as devastating by Ceara School principal Dr Peter Cunningham.
The cafe closed last week with the loss of three jobs.
It is the latest blow to Mount Zion which saw the closure of The Foyer, accomodation for homeless young people, in December.
Daisies had been under the management of Accept Care, a ‘not for profit’ organisation which runs catering businesses and employs workers with mental health or other disabilities.
Quite a few students at Ceara School had work placements at the cafe and Dr Cunningham said it was devastating that it has closed.
“Daisies Cafe was absolutely superb for our kids. We had a number of children who went to Daisies and who learned incredible social and life skills. And the girls who were over there went far beyond that which they should have done.
“We are devastated that it has closed because we simply don’t have any other work experience placements for our kids. We are devastated for the people who work there because obviously they have no jobs and we are equally devastated for the mummies of our kids because our children really need to develop those social skills outside of school.
“And apart from anything else it was a good cafe,” said Mr Cunningham, “We are very disappointed.”
While the Foyer and Daisies has closed Mount Zion is still open with a variety of services working from the building including LIAISE Free Advice Service, Mount Zion Domiciliary Care, Office Rentals, Zion’s Den Childcare, community based activities.
There are also a number of other charities which operate from MZH including VOYPIC, Opportunity Youth, Homestart, the Probation Board of NI, PIPS and Surestart.
The charity café chain Daisies was set up 12 years ago as an alternative to the traditional day care and to provide clients with real life on-the-job training, work experience and, for some, real jobs.
Last year Derek McClure, the founding Director, said: “Those of us who embarked on this project had a shared belief which is the foundation of all we do at Daisies.”
However, no one from Daisies or Accept Care was contactable at the time of going to press.