Many people with a learning disability have little or no experience of work, paid or unpaid.
We aim to support people into work, giving them the chance to earn a living. Having a job gives greater independence and creates opportunities to develop practical and social skills.
Emily, who we’ve supported since 2012, works three days a week, her working time split between a British Heart Foundation shop and a family centre.
At the shop, Emily works on the checkout, deals with customers’ queries, oversees sales and makes sure that the right amount of stock is available on the shop floor.
Emily relishes these opportunities and her confidence has grown. She is well-liked by the store’s staff and many customers enjoy regular chats with her.
Emily says: “I enjoy working at the shop – I am doing things that I like doing.”
Support Worker Julie adds: “Emily works really hard. She loves her jobs. And with her work placements, she’s got that discipline where she knows what time she’s got to be at work.”
Outside work, Emily enjoys a full social life. In any given week, she might be on the dance floor at The Barns Disco, keeping fit with aqua aerobics, or treading the boards with Seasons Theatre Company, an amateur theatre group whose membership includes people with autism, Asperger’s and learning disabilities.
Emily is also taking courses in aromatherapy, body massage, and Indian head massage.
At home, Emily has started to cook for herself and her housemates Jo and Laurence, who also have learning disabilities. She’s a keen baker, following recipes from Slimming World.
Karen Hipkiss, Emily’s Support Manager, adds: “Emily has made real strides not only in living more independently but in maintaining a busy life too. As well as helping her to find work, we help with things like personal budgets and tenancy agreements – important elements for any person in their 20s.”