Saol Café is the Friendliest Business in Ireland

The team at Saol Café
Nov 07 2016 Posted: 12:27 GMT

The first community-based social inclusion café to exist on a higher education campus in Ireland

Saol Café at NUI Galway has been named the Friendliest Business in Ireland by the JCI Ireland Friendly Business Awards. Based in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) in NUI Galway, Saol Café is a not-for-profit community project.

No ordinary café, Saol Café brings together local community partners, SCCUL Enterprises and leading academics from within the Life Course and Society Institute, and has set the foundations for the first community-based social inclusion café to exist on a higher education campus in Ireland. 

Saol Café focuses on employment for people within the community who would be traditionally marginalized. The aim to provide a strong foundation for those individuals by teaching them the skills and providing paid employment so they engage with the community in a working environment and have the confidence to make a difference to their lives through resourceful living, green issues, sourcing, cooking and sharing wholesome food.

The JCI Ireland Friendly Business Awards, supported by Bank of Ireland, is a flagship business programme where JCI recognise the pivotal role small businesses play in the local community. The aim of the Friendly Business Awards is to celebrate the value these businesses bring to our local communities every day.

Each summer sees JCI branches across Ireland run the JCI Friendly Business Awards. These awards were set up to recognise businesses that excel in serving the needs of the local community and play a vital role in its development. In August Saol Café were announced as the Friendliest Business in Galway in the Regional Awards. This propelled them onto the National finals where 50% of the final marks were decided by a public vote. 500 businesses took part in the awards and Saol Café emerged as the Overall Friendliest Business in Ireland.

Annette Hassett, Operations Manager with SCCUL Enterprises, said: “The team in Saol Café are delighted with the Award it’s a tremendous accolade for a business that is just one year in operation. We promote inclusive employment and hopefully this Award will encourage other employers to consider hiring staff through supported employment models.”

Menus are designed around produce available from local farms and artisan producers. Saol Café works with the local businesses such as Kinvara Smoked Salmon, Lizzy Jams and Chutneys, Galway Goats Cheese, Foods of Athenry, Sheridan’s Cheese, Juicy Lucy and Galway Food Company to name a few. Their food provenance is paramount, so time is taken to ensure the ingredients are from sustainable and ethical sources.

Open to the public Saol Café, just off the Upper Newcastle Road in Dangan, brings a magical taste of the community into the heart of the ILAS and its welcoming atmosphere. Operating from Monday to Thursday 8.30am – 4.30pm and Fridays until 3.30pm, the café seats 40 and serves up healthy nutritious food catering for all tastes including Coeliac and Vegans. 80% of Saol’s produce is either organic, local or fair trade. 

For further information, please see, Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @saolcafe.


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