A BAKERY and cafe in Tweedbank have become the first social enterprise in the region to sign to up to VisitScotland’s Information Partner programme.

Bread Works and the Whistle Stop Cafe, which are both run by Brothers of Charity, provide training and work experience to adults with learning disabilities.

Situated opposite Tweedbank Railway Station, the cafe has now joined an exclusive network of VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs) by committing to actively promote the local area and services offered by local businesses.

It is the first social enterprise in the region to sign up to the scheme and joins a list of 36 VIP Quality Assured businesses in the Scottish Borders.

Mandy Lowrie, employment and enterprise manager with Brothers of Charity, told the Border Telegraph: “We are delighted to join the VisitScotland Information Partner scheme and to work together to ensure that visitors to the Scottish Borders get access to all the information they need to make the most of their visit.

“We are in an ideal location to offer passengers on the Borders Railway the chance to arrive in Tweedbank and make the short journey to our café for a bite to eat and the opportunity to discover the wide range of attractions and events in the local area.

“Our staff will also have the opportunity to interact with visitors and develop new skills and experiences that will help when they come to find employment. We are proud to display the ‘iKnow’ Scotland accreditation at our centre as recognition of our commitment to providing first-class information about the Scottish Borders as a whole.”

Its membership to the scheme coincides with the opening of the new cafe last month.

As well as customer service skills, staff will now be offered the unique opportunity to develop knowledge and information to visitors arriving off the Borders Railway.

VisitScotland Regional Director, Doug Wilson, said: “We are delighted to welcome Bread Works to our VIP programme, the first community initiative to sign up to the scheme.

“VisitScotland’s VIP programme aims to ensure that all tourism providers can be local ambassadors and help provide information, assistance and advice on all there is to see and do here. This follows a growing trend among consumers to use online resources to plan their trips.”

The VIP programme forms part of VisitScotland’s focus on information which also includes a global online community to allow Scots and those who love Scotland to bring alive the streets, characters and landscapes of our country.