Derby ParksIn the heart of Derby's Arboretum Park, a unique venture is unfolding, one that transcends the ordinary and embraces inclusivity with open arms. The joint initiative between St Martins and St Andrew's Special Schools has given rise to the Heart of the Park Café, a beacon of community engagement and empowerment for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Nestled amidst the lush greenery and tranquil ambiance of Arboretum Park, the café stands not just as a place to savour delectable treats but as a symbol of inclusion and opportunity. Its vision is clear: to provide young people with SEND the chance to not only be visible but also active contributors to their community.

At the heart of this endeavour lies a profound belief in the potential of every individual, irrespective of their abilities or challenges. The café serves as a platform for students from St Martins and St Andrew's SEND Schools to showcase their talents, hone their skills, and interact with the wider community in meaningful ways.

Beyond the aromatic brews and delicious pastries, the Heart of the Park Café embodies the spirit of collaboration and partnership. By joining forces with local businesses, organizations, and community groups, the café aims to foster deeper connections and create a network of support for young people with SEND.

Through this venture, the students not only gain valuable vocational experience but also develop essential life skills that will serve them well beyond the confines of the café. From customer service and communication to teamwork and problem-solving, each interaction at the café becomes a stepping stone towards personal growth and empowerment.

Moreover, the café acts as a catalyst for broader societal change, challenging perceptions and breaking down barriers that often hinder the full participation of individuals with disabilities. By creating a welcoming environment where diversity is celebrated and embraced, the Heart of the Park Café sets a powerful example for inclusivity in action.

But the journey doesn't end here. The café's vision extends far beyond its physical walls, aspiring to catalyse a ripple effect of positive change throughout the community. Through strategic partnerships and collaborations, the aim is to expand opportunities for young people with SEND, opening doors to employment, education, and social engagement.

Theresa Peltier High Sheriff of DerbyshireThe official opening of the Heart of the Park Café was conducted by Theresa Peltier, the High Sheriff of Derbyshire, and was attended by community leaders, students, and Shaw Education Trust Head Office Staff. This auspicious occasion marked the beginning of a new chapter, one filled with promise and possibility.

Already, the café has sparked conversations and forged new alliances, laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and compassionate society. With each cup of coffee served and each smile shared, the Heart of the Park Café ignites hope and possibility, proving that when we come together, remarkable things can happen.

As we sip our drinks and savour the ambiance of Arboretum Park, let us not forget the profound impact of this joint venture. In the Heart of the Park Café, we find not just a place to indulge our senses but a testament to the power of community, inclusion, and the boundless potential of every individual, regardless of ability.


To find out more about Arboretum Park and the Heart of the Park Café, visit the Derby City Council website Here: Derby Arboretum | Parks | In Derby