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 at a charity shop one or two days every week. It’s a varied role. She 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. She also works at a local family centre once a week.
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.
Outside work, Emily enjoys a full social life. In any given week, she might be on the dance floor at The Barns Disco, taking part in 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. She also goes to Slimming World classes, and has lost weight.
Emily enjoys shopping for clothes and having her nails done.
At home, Emily has started to cook for herself and her housemates Laurence and Josephine, who also have learning disabilities. She’s a keen baker, following recipes from Slimming World.
Emily says: “I enjoy working at the shop – I am doing things that I like doing.”
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.”