Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie donned chefs’ whites to help a not-for-profit cafe celebrate its 10th birthday.

Cafe West in Whitehaven’s King Street is marking a decade of business with several events – including asking the mayor to do a morning’s work experience at the busy eatery.

Mr Starkie said: “I was given a series of tasks by the enthusiastic staff there, and I hope I helped out. It was great to meet the team and see exactly what they do there. Cafe West provides fantastic training opportunities, as well as a thriving cafe. I was proud to be part of it this week. I hope it continues for another 10 years and beyond.”

Cafe West, part of the West House charity, provides training and employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities from across West Cumbria.

Fundraising manager, Emma Robinson, said: “To celebrate our 10th birthday we’re trying to raise £10,000 to refurbish the café, replace equipment and provide new activities for the people we support. We’ve also had some special visitors in to give us a helping hand by doing some work experience at the Café – a great opportunity to see behind the scenes and really understand what we’re about and the amazing things our trainees achieve.

“The team thought Mike did really well today – he listened carefully to the instructions that Emily, Marie and the kitchen team gave him, which is really important in a busy working environment like Café West. He managed to get quite a lot done in the short time he was with us – serving salads, ironing his work t-shirt and even mastering the coffee machine. Hopefully he enjoyed getting to know some of our trainees and understanding what a brilliant job they do every day, making everything from scratch. Mike is welcome back anytime!”