Chorlton’s The Edge theatre is celebrating a national award win after being crowned OFM Local Food Hero at the Observer Food Monthly Awards.

The award is nominated by readers and presented in recognition of people or organisations who have made a difference in the food industry in communities across the UK.

The unique arts space based ihas scooped the award for its café, The Dressing Room, which provides training to adults with learning disabilities. Each year 24 adults with learning disabilities are given 12-week placements to develop skills within the working environment.

Trainees receive one-to-one training plans and are supported to be involved in all areas of the café’s operation – from providing a warm welcome and serving customers to preparing food and drinks. Each individual is encouraged and empowered by staff including Learning Mentor Emily Potter and Café Manager Jim Turner to gain confidence and develop new skills which can be applied in working environments and other areas of life and independent living.

The Edge was announced as the winner of OFM Local Food Hero by a judging panel and presented with the award at a ceremony last night.

Janine Waters, CEO & Artistic Director of The Edge, said

“Participation is at the heart of everything we do at The Edge, from opportunities taking part in our participation programme right through to our award-winning hospitality programme. We’re immensely proud of The Dressing Room and all the trainees that come to us to develop skills in our café, which is a busy and important part of our theatre space. For our project to win an award that, in our eyes, is one of the highest accolades in the food industry, is a huge honour and testament to our wonderful staff, partners and of course trainees.”

The Edge is Manchester’s award-winning theatre for participation. Founded in 2011 by Janine Waters, Dom and Simon Waters, it provides opportunities for people who are homeless, vulnerable adults and young people to take part in theatre – transforming lives through high quality theatre and art.

Running alongside its extensive participation programme, The Edge is both a producing and a receiving house for nationally touring theatre productions. The Dressing Room café opened in 2015 and is considered a hidden gem in Chorlton for its tea and cake, lunch and pre-show meals, in addition to delivering its award-winning training programme in hospitality for adults with learning disabilities.


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