A café staffed almost exclusively with deaf people has opened in Brighton and is the first of its kind in the country.
Dottie’s Café opened in East Brighton Park on Monday with more than 40 deaf visitors among the first to visit the venue.
Organiser Ruthanne Garrett said that as well as a café, it is hoped the venue will become a hub for home-schooled children and a welcoming place for refugees to learn English.
The new venue will be a new home for a range of services Ms Garrett set-up last year including a job club for deaf people who struggled with a lack of support from the Jobcentre.
The services had been run from the Brighthelm Centre before their switch to Dottie’s Café.
Ms Garrett said her other inspiration was her mother Dottie who ran a community café from her family home in Liverpool in 1940s and 50s.
Initially the café will have five members of staff, four of whom are deaf, but it is hoped that more jobs will be created once the venue gets up and running.
She said: “People keep thinking this is a café for deaf people to come to but it’s a café to help deaf people. A café staffed by deaf people because deaf people want to help the community. As much as possible, I want to set this up and then slip away into the shadows. There aren’t many cafés like this. There is one in Toronto called Signs with deaf staff which is much bigger but it’s not a community café, there’s a deaf café in South Africa and a Starbucks with deaf staff.”