Shetland Woman Sets Up Refugee Cafe in Glasgow

by Alastair Hamilton -

A Shetland woman and her friend from Inverness are establishing a café in Glasgow’s south side which will help refugee women develop life skills.

Gabby Cluness, who hails from the hamlet of Culswick in Shetland’s west mainland, has teamed up with a friend, Angela Ireland, to get the new venture under way. The pair developed the idea while travelling together in South America. Situated on Victoria Road, the café – to be called Milk – will offer good food and drink in homely surroundings. However, Gabby says that they’ll also offer a programme that will provide work experience to asylum seeker and refugee women living in Glasgow. The aim, she says, is to provide the women with skills that will “help them integrate into their new lives, as well as improving their job prospects for the future”

Gabby and Angela have been working with asylum seekers for a year or so and have learned “what an isolating experience it is for many of them, forced from their home into a new community which is often unwelcoming, and bewildering even when it isn't.” They believe that if they can offer a space where the women “can develop and practise skills, share culinary expertise and improve their English” it will help them gain future employment and build a social network.

They’ve been fundraising for the project – exceeding their target – and plan to open for business on 5 June. We wish them success.

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