‘Bhaji Man’ Don adds spice to Cromer charity’s work

Don Lear - the Bhaji Man.Photo: Andy DarnellCopy: Stacia BriggsFor: Business/FeaturesArchant © 2010

Don Lear - the Bhaji Man.Photo: Andy DarnellCopy: Stacia BriggsFor: Business/FeaturesArchant © 2010 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Archant © 2010

A touch of Eastern promise is set to lend added spice to a pioneering and expanding charity for people with learning disabilities.

Cromer-based About With Friends is teaming up with Norfolk businessman and philanthropist Don Lear.

Mr Lear, known as the Bhaji Man, runs a successful business selling cooking kits that contain all the spices for a whole range of traditional Asian dishes he learned from his mother in Sri Lanka.

He was contacted by About With Friends to see whether he could help them offer an Indian special for guests at the charity's twice-weekly lunch clubs for the over 55s.

Some 50 catering team members with About With Friends' Workskills programme cook for the Cromer and North Walsham lunch clubs, as well as providing buffet lunches for other organisations and hot meals for people living in Victory Housing accommodation.

The Workskills programme also runs a service where members tend the gardens of older people.

Mr Lear, who does a lot of work supporting people with special needs, visited the catering team and gave them a demonstration of cooking a chicken jalfrezi using one of his recipe kits.

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And he was so impressed by the team, feeling their work was in tune with his mission to get people to cook from scratch at home, that he is set to work with About With Friends in future.

Meanwhile About With Friends, now in its 14th year, is set to open a community shop, in addition to its successful community café in Cromer, to give some of its members jobs in the heart of town.

A charity spokesman said: 'At a time when people with disabilities are increasingly side-lined by cuts and government policy, at least one Norfolk charity is helping them lead a fulfilling life and make a worthwhile contribution to life.'

For more information ring 01263 515230.