Northumberland young adults defied learning difficulties to launch waffle stall

North Northumberland's SpLinter Group won £5,000 to help them set up a quiz app from the stall

Frank Lyford, front, and other members of Waffling On
Frank Lyford, front, and other members of Waffling On

Young adults who have defied learning difficulties to sell waffles as part of an innovative awareness initiative are heading to London to create their own quiz app.

North Northumberland’s SpLinter Group was set up in 2009 to help people with difficulties or disabilities like ADHD, autism and dyslexia gain independence and confidence, and last year it launched Waffling On.

Run for and by members, the market stall aims to attract members of the public with the tasty treat, while also engaging customers with quizzes and conversation, helping them understand SpLDs better.

And now the quiz will be transformed into an interactive app after the group won more than £5,000 in funding from the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (IDEA) initiative, which seeks to provide young people with technological and marketing expertise so they can succeed in business.

As part of the award, SpLinter chairman Frank Lyford, of Alnwick, will take a team to O2’s London HQ next Friday (15) to work with Google on the app and their business plan.

Frank, 28, explained: “I had been interested in setting up a waffle business since I went to America in 2000, and enjoyed eating at the Waffle House chain of cafés, and thought there was nothing like it in the UK.

“There are very few waffles for sale in Northumberland even though there are loads of markets, festivals and places where tourists and local people go where they can be sold.”

He added: “I really believe that young people with SpLD should speak for themselves wherever and whenever they can, with support if needed.

“Too many people make decisions for us, and also lots of people in the general public don’t really understand how to relate to us without patronising us. So the whole idea of the social enterprise is to give group members the opportunity to explain what it’s like to have an SpLD.”

In total, 15 recipients of IDEA funding will attend the O2 HQ and the most impressive 10 will go forward and pitch their ideas to will.i.am and Prince Andrew in the hope of claiming a £15,000 in their digital venture.

Frank said: “We are very excited about the opportunity and hope this app will help us reach more people in a modern way.”

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