A NEW cafe will officially open its doors at Tam O’Shanter's Urban Farm in Bidston on Monday.

It is the latest venture launched by Best Bites, Wirral Council’s social enterprise catering service which gives people with disabilities the chance to gain valuable work experience and qualifications.

The company started as the Best Sandwich Project in 2007 with four staff and now employs 18 people at two restaurants and four cafes across the Wirral.

It offers up to 60 placements, transforming the lives of people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health issues.

Project manager Debbie Broster said: "It is a stepping stone into paid employment.

"Adults come with little or no work experience. They are very shy but within a week they become a full member of the team.

"It’s wonderful to see them grow as their confidence and self-esteem increases. They feel valued.

“They don’t only benefit in the work environment, this experience improves the social and communication skills in their own lives. It helps them to live more independently."

The Mayor and Mayoress joined staff and volunteers on Monday to officially launch the new cafe in Boundary Road. Trainees served guests a selection of home made cakes.

Best Bites operate restaurants at Willow Bank Court in Wallasey, and at Mendell Lodge, Bromborough.

As well as serving residents, the café is open to the public for breakfasts, lunches, and hot meals from 9am-5pm, seven days a week.

They also run cafes at The Oval, Bebington, Wirral Tennis Centre and Williamson Art Gallery and Museum.

Trainees are offered a two-year placement working in a restaurant and kitchen to enable them to move into paid employment or voluntary work.

The course increases their life skills as they work closely with different agencies, including colleges who are providing NVQ in various subjects.