Brighton Dome to re-open its doors for first time since lockdown

Andrew Comben, chief executive, Brighton Dome

Café Domenica at Brighton Dome will be based in the venue’s Foyer on Church Street offering visitors a selection of freshly-made food and drinks four days a week.

Team Domenica was set up to offer people with learning disabilities the opportunity to reach their full potential through work-based training. Due to social distancing measures, Team Domenica’s two Brighton & Hove locations have had to reduce their opening hours and training schedules and needed an additional site to continue their work with candidates.

Rosa Monckton, Team Domenica founder and chairman, said: “Our candidates and staff are hugely excited to be starting up a new venture at such an iconic venue.

“The café will be a perfect training facility for our candidates and we are grateful to be able to use the space to increase the enrichment opportunities which are a crucial part of their personal development programme.

“Brighton Dome has been connected to the community for over 200 years and our goal is for our candidates to be totally integrated with and be positive contributors to the local community. This partnership will enable us to reinforce these values and we thank Brighton Dome for their support and enthusiasm. We look forward to welcoming our regular customers and new visitors into this special place.”

Brighton Dome closed to the public in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The venue will implement COVID-secure measures including additional cleaning and social distancing to protect staff and visitors to the café.

Andrew Comben, chief executive, Brighton Dome added: “We are delighted to be able to open our doors again to support Team Domenica’s valuable work.

“Brighton Dome exists for people to enjoy themselves and this is a positive first step to welcoming visitors into the venue as we start to plan bringing live events back to the heart of the city. Our staff look forward to working with Team Domenica candidates on developing their skills to create positive outcomes for their future careers.”

Serving a selection of hot and cold breakfast, lunch, cakes and drinks including coffee made with Team Domenica’s own blend supplied by Red Roaster Brighton. Products made by candidates, including chutney and preserves are available to take away. Profits from café sales go towards supporting the work of the charity.

Team Domenica candidate Olivia Gordon, who will be training at the café, said: “I am feeling really really excited. I love being at the Dome. I did my work placement and ushering there and can’t wait to go back and work in the Team Domenica Café.”

Café Domenica at Brighton Dome, Church Street, Brighton BN1 1UE opens from September 15, Tuesday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.

Founder & Chairman Rosa Monckton, whose younger daughter, Domenica, has Down’s Syndrome, set up the registered charity to help young people with learning disabilities find and retain meaningful employment.

Rosa said: “Based in central Brighton & Hove, and launched by the actress Julie Walters in September 2016, we operate through a unique three-tier set-up of Training Centre, Training Café (Café Domenica) and Employment Centre.

“Through this we provide employment programmes to young people with a wide range of ability, referred to as our ‘candidates’ to more accurately reflect and emphasise their role as people ready for employment. At Team Domenica, we strongly believe that young people with learning disabilities have the right to work, to lead fulfilling and purposeful lives, to have their individual gifts and talents recognised, and to feel included as valued members of society.

“We have an excellent reputation with partnered employers and local businesses in Brighton and Hove. We work with employers across all industries including (but not limited to); The Co-op, Lloyds Bank, Holiday Inn, The Grand, Bill’s, Morrisons, Jury’s Inn and British Airways i360. We have achieved an outstanding 75% paid employment rate through our supported internships, more than 12 times higher than the national employment statistic (6%) for people with learning disabilities.”

Brighton & Hove Independent