A CAFÉ staffed almost exclusively with deaf people has opened as the first of its kind in the country.

Dottie’s Café opened in East Brighton Park on Monday with more than 40 deaf visitors among the first to visit the venue.

Organiser Ruthanne Garrett said the café was inspired by two family members – her star baker and 12-year-old daughter Maida Mosidi Nasab and her mother Dottie Croall who set-up a community café in Liverpool 70 years ago.

As well as a café, it is hoped the venue will become a hub for home-schooled children and a welcoming place for refugees to learn English.

The not-for-profit venue is still very much in its early phase without an oven, deep fat fryer, fridge, freezer, dining tables or till and so a fundraising campaign for £7,500 has been launched.

The search is also on for any polka dot décor or crockery and for skilled volunteers who can help with carpentry.

A previous campaign helped to pay for legal fees while a philanthropist and generous local business have loaned the fledgling community café £7,500.

The new venue will be a new home for a range of services Ms Garrett set-up last year including a job club for deaf people who struggled with a lack of support from the Jobcentre.

The services had been run from the Brighthelm Centre before their switch to Dottie’s Café.

Ms Garrett said: “I was looking for a new venue but I was just looking for a house.

“My daughter has set-up a business baking and selling cakes and she found the café online and wanted us to get it but I kept saying ‘you can’t have a café, you’re 12’.

“Then my friend contacted me about it too so I felt a bit cornered by the two of them.

“Even when I went there with my two daughters, I could tell the estate agent didn’t take us very seriously.”

Ms Garrett said her other inspiration was her mother Dottie who ran a community café from her family home in Liverpool in 1940s and 50s.

Initially the café will have five members of staff, four of whom are deaf, but it is hoped that more jobs will be created once the venue gets up and running.

She said: “People keep thinking this is a café for deaf people to come to but it’s a café to help deaf people.

“A café staffed by deaf people because deaf people want to help the community.

“As much as possible, I want to set this up and then slip away into the shadows.

“There aren’t many cafes like this.

“There is one in Toronto called Signs with deaf staff which is much bigger but it’s not a community café, there’s a deaf café in South Africa and a Starbucks with deaf staff.”

To support the campaign visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/dotties-cafe.