Café Van Gogh seeks funds to grow its skills training

Café Van Gogh interior
Café Van Gogh

Café Van Gogh in the grounds of Christ Church on the Brixton Road is raising funds to create better training and employment  opportunities for people with learning and developmental disabilities.

Its “GoVanGogh” campaign on Spacehive is seeking funding of £20,000 to refurbish and open out its bar space to train more adults and young people who want a job but need the skills to get one.


Lily Pain
Lily Pain

Local poet and artist Lily Pain and fellow poets will perform at the café on Monday 24 February in aid of campaign. There will be poetry, film, prosecco, vegan scones and cucumber sandwiches

Doors at 6.30pm and the programme starts at 7pm. All ages are welcome. A suggested donation is £10

To guarantee a place, register on eventbrite and pledge £10 or more per person on Spacehive.


The café’s barista and customer service training, combined with being part of a friendly working team, enables trainees to focus on independence, communication and self-reliance at the same time as preparing for entering the job market.

A video produced by Butthead Films explains it all …


Over the past year the café has worked with a local architecture practice, Formation Architects, and Highshore School (special education) to create the design and drawings from the café’s service users’ perspective.

It works in conjunction with charities including Toucan Employment which refers trainees, provide on-the-job coaching, CV workshops, and support the café’s trainees to find work in the wider community.

Toucan Employmenwork experience trainee Ehima
Toucan Employmenwork experience trainee Ehima

Local Lambeth councillor Paul Gadsby said the café had been a wonderful addition to Vassall ward in the past four years.

“Not only is the food outstanding and original,” he said “it has a real community focused outlook, employing local people and talent.

“The planned expansion of the café in order to offer training for young people with disabilities is another demonstration of their positive outlook.”

Café Van Gogh is a vegan, community interest company owned by Steve Clarke and Bonita De Silva.

Café Van Gogh, 88 Brixton Road, SW9 6BE. 07546 966554. info@cafevangogh

Cafe Van Gogh exterior

In addition to its social mission, the café is becoming increasingly well known for its vegan food from the creative direction of head chef Bonita De Silva.

Butthead Films is run by South Londoner filmmakers Laura Spini and Laurence Brook. With cinematographer Tian Tsering, they produced the campaign video for the café with music by Malphino.

Formation Architects is based in Kennington Park Business Centre near Café Van Gogh. Architect Chloe Hand at Formation has been leading the Café Van Gogh refurbishment project.

Highshore School is a complex mixed needs special secondary (age range 11 – 19) school in Camberwell.

Toucan Employment is a not-for-profit charity organisation who support people with learning difficulties/disabilities in Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Brent.