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About Kimel Cafe


Our Story

The Kimel Cafe is named in memory of a dear friend Howard Kimel.


Howard was a very successful American businessman who ran many businesses in different countries. He was an inspirational boss who always believed in giving people a chance. Because he wanted everybody to have equal opportunities, he employed people that struggled to get a job for any number of reasons and supported them in any way necessary and often employed an extra mentor to support them.


He often spoke to us about setting something up in the UK so we decided to do something along those lines but focus on the neurodivergent community. The cafe was opened for neurodivergent young adults as a stepping stone into the workplace, a safe space for them to be completely themselves as a lot of neurodivergent people feel the need to mask in front of people which is exhausting for them.


Unfortunately Howard passed away before the cafe opened, but we hope he would be proud that we are carrying on his legacy in a small way.

Exterior image of Kimel Cafe

Our aim is to provide supported employment for the neurodivergent community and to provide a stepping stone training experience to give our young people an opportunity to transition into mainstream employment.

Our objectives

  • To work in conjunction with the Kimel Foundation's Personal Development and Employability team and find awesome staff to come and work at the cafe.

  • To develop a cafe to provide supported life skills training for the neurodivergent community.

  • Our “Pay It Forward” programme will help local charities in their quest to alleviate food poverty in Wokingham.

  • To provide tailored and appropriate stepping stone training for our young neurodivergent team members.

  • Pay our team members a proper salary.

  • To identify potential employers, advocate the skills of our young people provide transitional support to employment.

  • To engage people in fundraising activities to support the financial requirements of the Kimel Cafe project.

  • ​To empower our young people to help themselves and to raise awareness of the challenges they face.

  • Oh, and serve great coffee!

Meet our Team

Our team has a wealth of skills and experience combined with dedication and a passion for community and coffee! Every member of our incredible team contributes to supporting Kimel Cafe's vision and turning it into reality day after day.

Image of team member Sharon


Sharon proudly hails from God’s chosen county; Yorkshire – but grew up in Cheshire. Sharon gained a degree in International Business from Sheffield. A journey that would take her for a study year in Bordeaux, followed by working in both Turin and Paris. Whilst the French and Italian might be rusty at first, it is still there somewhere if anyone fancies a chat. Working life brought her to Berkshire, establishing a successful sales career in the early days of the dot com boom. And it was in Wokingham that she made her home, giving up chasing sales targets for raising 3 children. She was an early pioneer of buggy running, and come school time she was often seen sprinting down the Barkham Road with her three wheeler, giving the kids (and the dog) some early pre-school adrenaline rushes. And it was in this education environment at Meadow Nursery that she stayed, as nursery assistant developing into one-on-one roles and a specific focus on SEN. Sharon is energetic, loves exercise and generally likes to keep busy. She has always played an active voluntary role in the community, from school governor, to swimming club committee, to volunteer at The Link Visiting Scheme and more. Involved in Kimel Cafe from the outset, with painting, decorating and fitting out the interior, Sharon now co-manages the cafe with a strong focus on mentoring and developing the young staff members in a safe and nurturing environment.

Image of team member Nicky


Nicky works in the Kimel Cafe as a mentor. Nicky has extensive experience in the catering and hospitality industry, including working for local government departments in Environmental Health and Contract Management & Procurement for over 20 years. She loves spending time with family and friends, with a passion for walking and keeping fit.

Image of team member Isabel


I qualified as a mental health nurse in 1990 and worked in several different areas of care, both here and Australia, before specialising in community nursing with early onset dementia. I loved my work but left nursing in 2003 to spend time raising my children and to set up an electrical contracting business with my husband where I am responsible for the accounting and staff management. During this time, I also volunteered as a school governor and helped with catering at all camps with our local scout group. I am excited to have the opportunity to be involved with the Kimel Café and look forward to seeing what we can achieve together. I was born and raised in Wokingham and although the town has grown considerably in recent years I am pleased it still is a strong, supportive community. In my spare time I enjoy music, films, camping and hiking as well as spending time with family and friends.

Image of team member Nic


Nic is the owner of Willy Wonka Travel, the only certified Autism Travel Professional in the UK as well as the founder and driving influence & inspiration for the Kimel Group. He’s worked in travel for over 30 years as a concierge in London. He won an Acorn Award aged 25 and was the first concierge in the UK to receive this award, which is for young aspiring hotel staff and recognises the brightest prospects in the hospitality industry. He was one of the youngest concierges to be appointed onto the executive committee of the Le Clefs d’Or (The Golden Keys) for Great Britain and the Commonwealth. His mission is to make all types of travel accessible to people with additional needs. He has a family diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) so his first hand experience of living with autism paired with years in the travel industry enables him to offer this unique service because he understands the details that make a difference.

Image of team member Selda


I am married and have two children – Maya is 14 and Daniel is 11. I was born and grew up in Turkey, and came to England in my early twenties. I am a middle child who has always been independent, curious and interested in learning about new and different things. When I first came to England I felt that (compared to what I was used to in Turkey) people were disconnected with each other’s lives. I guess I felt that way because I grew up in a house with three generations of my family and in a neighbourhood where everybody knew each other, and everyone supported one another. My grandparents were, and still are, a big influences on my outlook in life. I believe our existence in life has purpose. I remember talking with Nic and Rachel about Kimel cafe as a project long before it became reality. I was so touched and excited for the new opportunities that would be given to neurodivergent young adults. My daughter Maya has inspired me with her kindness, care and patience in her friendships with neurodivergent individuals. Children have no judgment on others until they learn it from others. Community matters, and when everyone comes together to help support a project like Kimel Cafe it will be the foundation of a future success story and bring hope to so many people’s lives. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Kimel family and hope we can continue working together to make this community better for everyone.

Image of team member Karl


Born and brought up in Karachi, Pakistan, I moved to the US for my further education around 1991. I lived in various cities in the USA (NJ, IL and CO) and relocated to the UK during the second half of the Covid year to facilitate the EMEA region. I worked in the Tech sector primarily since after my uni years. I've always had a passion for coffee and am self-taught on the variety of roasting techniques and how the region in which coffee is grown gives its taste. I love to travel with my family and a local coffee shop is always on our list of places to visit. Kimel is a place I get to share my passion for the taste and knowledge of coffee.

Image of team member Paula


My name is Paula and I’ve been working with SEN children and young people for over 25 years. I believe offering support into the world of paid employment is the logical next step. In addition, I want to extend the skills taught by expanding the services offered in the cafe to include a variety of events and experiences.

Image by Jennie Razumnaya

Cafe team

Our cafe team is made up of young people from the neurodivergent community who are eager to learn new skills and prepare themselves to transition into mainstream employment. By immersing themselves in this nurturing environment our team members grow in confidence and learn essential life skills that prepare them for their futures.


Hi Nic,

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to you for giving J the opportunity you have. I’ve not seen him this happy for many years and after he dropped out of college through anxiety I was concerned he’d ever be able to get a job and make a future for himself. The difference in him the last few weeks has been huge. He’s had a very tough 18 years and just needed someone to give him a break, someone understanding and supportive and he’s found that in you so just wanted to let you know how grateful I am and what an impact you have had on him. On the way home he said “I love that I can have banter with Nic, he’s the coolest boss!” 🙂

If there’s anything I can ever help with please do let me know.

Thanks again,

Hi Nic

Would just like to wish you and your family and very happy Christmas and hope you can have a bit of a break.


Thank you for taking M on.  He seems to me to be growing in confidence and now has a purpose.  He is being self motivated in organising himself.  I don’t even have to wake him up!!!! He has been communicating better, although I have asked him what he has been doing out of interest, but don’t get anything back on that one!!!  He has been talking about televisions and wanting to sort his room out though.  I am just pleased that he seems to be much happier in himself.


I believe you are still having problems with opening so hope that the issues get sorted as quite a lot of people have been asking me when the café is opening as excited about going.


Enjoy a nice well deserved break.


Happy Christmas


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