TWO years after setting up a cafe to help people with learning disabilities, Yellow Submarine is hoping to expand across the county.

The Park End Street cafe employs and trains people from Oxfordshire with learning disabilities and autism to help them learn new skills.

Now, two years after the charity cafe opened its doors, bosses say there may be another branch later this year.

Manager Paul Stanton-Humphreys said: “We’re hoping to open a second cafe and take on more apprentices and do a lot more traineeships.

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“At the moment we’re in the negotiation stage, so I can’t say too much. It would be Oxfordshirebased. We’re looking for a place where we can have a large impact on another area.

“A lot of people have to travel to Oxford to come and use our services.

If we had a cafe in Didcot or Bicester or Witney there would be a new pool of people who wouldn’t have to travel as far.”

The cafe was helped by a £10,000 grant from the Oxford Mail’s parent company Gannett when it opened in 2012.

Mr Stanton-Humphreys said: “The idea was to give people with learning disabilities a place to work and gain experience.

“They work in the cafe or upstairs doing more business-like stuff. Of those trainees four went on to become apprentices.”

Working 20 hours a week for 18 months, the four apprentices have full employment rights and are paid a weekly salary.

“It’s the smaller changes in confidence that mean so much to me,”

Mr Stanton-Humphreys added.

“People who once wouldn’t talk to you or look you in the eye are now sharing jokes with customers.

“For me that’s the biggest and most exciting thing.”

Hannah Harrison, 29, is one of the four apprentices She said: “It’s really good, I get to work with wonderful people.

“Without this place I don’t know what I would do, they are brilliant.”

“I wish there was a Yellow Submarine in Banbury because the only place I can go to is Oxford.

“I love coming here. I’m not going to leave if I can help it.”