Woking has a vast array of places where we can grab that mid-morning caffeine hit or indulge in a sweet treat on a wintry afternoon.

But one tea room in Woking is breaking down barriers and changing perceptions – one cuppa at a time.

The Dramatize tea room is run by people with learning disabilities. 

They are involved in every aspect, from serving customers to working in the kitchen. 

The team at Dramatize opened the tea room, their second, this year after the success of the first one, in Shepperton. 

I was at the new tea room with Martin, one of our Sunnybank reporters who I support to conduct interviews for The Sunny Sessions

We interviewed Karen, who runs Dramatize, and Leonid and Katja, two of the team who are working at the tea room. 

I had prepared this interview previously with Martin and we went with a list of questions eager to find out more about this brilliant project.

Dramatize have been running day services at their original centre in Spelthorne with the aim of helping their students achieve their full potential through person-centred programmes which provide a range of purposeful opportunities and adventures.

The new tea room is built around a tailored training programme developed during the pandemic. 

It allows the students to learn skills needed to run a tea room and grow in confidence, hopefully working towards meaningful paid employment. 

It is sad to learn how few people with a learning disability are in paid work – and this is something that comes up time and time again. Maybe there is a lack of understanding around learning disability. 

As our work at The Sunnybank Trust and this Dramatize project proves, if you have the right support in place and make reasonable adjustments as needed, the learning-disability community have so much to offer society. 

So next time you fancy a catch-up with a friend over a cappuccino or a natter over a latte, why not make your cuppa do good and help people with learning disabilities work towards that goal of paid employment? 

The cakes are very tasty, as Martin can tell you.

The Dramatize tea room can be found at the Moorfield centre in Westfield.

It is open from 10am until 4pm, Mondays to Fridays.

* You can listen to The Sunny Sessions on Surrey Hills Community Radio at 11am on Mondays and Thursdays, and on Radio Woking at 9am on Wednesdays. You can also hear me on the Radio Woking breakfast show on Wednesdays (7am to 9am) and Sundays (9am to noon).

To get in touch, please email me at [email protected]