YELLOW SUBMARINE, the cafe where people with learning disabilities can work, has received the best present it could for its first birthday.

It’s not the number of sandwiches it has sold or number of customers through its door in Park End Street – it has been the change Yellow Submarine charity manager Toby Staveley has seen in the volunteers and staff members.

He said: “To see them operate independently on the till has been amazing.

“Everyone has made progress. Each trainee has a different story and we’re incredibly proud of everyone.”

Anthony Langdon became the first worker to qualify with a level two Food Safety Award.

The 23 year-old from Beckley was thrilled with the qualification and said that working at the charity cafe has boosted his confidence.

Mr Langdon said: “When I first started I was really shy and this work work has helped me build my confidence.

“It has helped me to feel more confident in making new friends.

“I like working here because the staff are friendly and the customers are friendly as well.

“It gets me out of the house and gives me something to do.”

The cafe worker helps out making sandwiches, clearing tables and delivering orders across Oxford for the cafe which is partly staffed by volunteers and paid workers with learning difficulties.

The business was set up by the Yellow Submarine charity – which organises residential holidays and short breaks, day trips and classes for young people and adults who have learning disabilities – last March.

Cafe manager Paul Stanton-Humphrey, 32, said: “It has been fantastic. The biggest thing for us is working with the young people and seeing the change in their lives.

“That change has been amazing. For some of them it is just a boost for them to get a job.

“Month upon month the cafe is getting busier and stronger. When we first started, we had no idea that it would be like this.”

More than 25 young adults have volunteered at the cafe and Anthony was one of the first to get paid.

The Yellow Submarine cafe was awarded a £10,000 grant by the Oxford Mail’s parent company the Gannett Foundation, but has also received funding from Lloyds Bank Foundation, the Margaret Dobson Further Education Trust, and the St Michael’s & All Saints' Charities.

The charity has also been given donations from local businesses including Oxera and Jennings.