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Rugby player turned coffee entrepreneur supports college café

Cardiff Rugby player Dillon Lewis at Coleg y Cymoedd's Rhondda campus cafe grand opening with Al Lewis, Head of School for Vocational Access

A Cardiff Rugby player has swapped mauls for macchiatos for a day to celebrate the opening of a new café at his former college.

Dillon Lewis, who co-owns speciality coffee shop Fat Dragon Coffee with Cardiff teammate Brad Thyer, will be supplying coffee beans and ground coffee to the brand new Caffi Blodyn Haul on Coleg y Cymoedd’s Rhondda campus.

The Church Village born player was a member of the elite Cardiff Blues Academy at Coleg y Cymoedd from 2012 to 2014 while studying at the college, and the prop has since become an integral fixture for Cardiff and Wales.

On Wednesday, Dillon returned to his roots to show his support for Coleg y Cymoedd’s community of staff and learners with the opening of the brand new Independent Living Skills (ILS) Coffee Shop.

Dillon said: “Going back to my old college to do my part in getting the new coffee shop up and running is such a rewarding experience.

“My sister has additional learning needs and I know first-hand the challenges learners like her face on a day to day basis. Contributing towards creating a learning environment at Coleg y Cymoedd where learners with additional learning needs can develop their skills and grow their confidence is very near and dear to my heart.”

Dedicated to improving learning provisions for its vocational learners, the café will see learners across the campus take part in running the shop, from serving drinks to selling baked goods freshly made by members of Coleg y Cymoedd’s catering course every weekday from 10 am to 2 pm.

In a collaborative effort with Welsh Government and Colegau Cymru in reshaping the curriculum for learners with Additional Learning Needs, the new space is part of the college’s wider goal to provide a more practical learning experience that readies learners for the world of work and independent living.

Al Lewis, Head of School for Vocational Access at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Dillon is a great example of a learner who has gone on to achieve so much after college. He’s been a long-time supporter of the college and has always remained a prominent figure in our community.

“We’re excited to have Dillon’s support for the new café and our wider efforts to improve learning experiences at the college for learners present and future. We can’t wait to welcome learners and staff across the college as well as members of the public to the new café.”