Sarah’s Story


Serving a Smile: Sarah’s Story

Customers at the MEC’s Mess Cafe are usually greeted by Sarah, a confident young women with a big smile and a sunny disposition.

But Sarah’s journey to where she is today has not been easy. Growing up with moderate learning difficulties and a strained home life, Sarah became very withdrawn in her teens. She struggled to make friends and felt unwanted by those around her.

Thanks to input and mentoring from Eden Openshaw team, Sarah was able to grown in confidence and learn to speak to people about her problems. She also met with Jesus through praying and reading the bible with the Eden Team.

“I guess Sarah found a place where she felt safe and she was able to be herself” says Lizzie Bassford, who has known and mentored Sarah since the age of 12. “We were able to take her along to weekends away, camping, loads of fun new experiences that she would probably not have had without Eden.”

As Sarah left school, it became clear than finding a job was going to be especially challenging. But after a few months volunteering at the Message Enterprise Centre, her attitude and determination impressed the team so much so taht the cafe offered her a full-time job working alongisde The Message team and ex-offenders. Today she is flourishing and continues to impress everyone around her.

Sarah works with The Mess Cafe, one of our Message Enterprise Centre businesses designed to create training opportunities and jobs for ex-offenders and other young people who need a second chance in life. The Mess Cafe serves barista coffees, speciality teas, smoothies and frappes, a delicious selection of sandwiches and light meals, plus tempting pastries, cakes and desserts.

For more information on the cafe, visit