As young adults, we are encouraged to learn new skills, expand our horizons, take on responsibilities and nurture our talents. In return, we enjoy the independence from earning a wage, we gain self-esteem and feel a part of our community.
Unfortunately, this is often not the case for people with learning disabilities and autism. Despite many studies highlighting the advantages for businesses hiring disabled employees – including the financial gains and the positive impact on staff morale – according to UK charity Mencap, only 6% of people with a known learning disability of employment age are in paid work.
Disabled and autistic adults still have the same goals of having a career, of self-sufficiency and the rewards of working alongside colleagues who value their skills. And everyone has the right to gain the confidence to show the world what they are capable of.
With so many encouraging discussions and change taking place around inclusion and equality, now is the perfect time to embrace opportunities to help others reach their goals. I am pleased to say that Sussex is home to several fantastic organisations, some of which I know through the positive experiences of friends and their families, and from the voluntary involvement of colleagues:
Aldingbourne Work Trust and Country Centre
(www.aldingbournetrust.org) near Chichester supports over 1,000 people with learning disabilities, autism and Down’s Syndrome, plus people with physical disabilities. Each individual is given a tailored programme which nurtures their skills and confidence to find employment. Services include vocational training and work experience, plus advice and guidance for families, and the public can visit the centre’s café, open farm and creative arts studio.
Little Gate Farm
(www.littlegate.org.uk) is set in 20 acres of woodland in Beckley, near Hastings. ‘Work Trainees’ are taught to manage the forest sustainably, to grow and cook produce, and learn how to make furniture and wood crafts. When trainees feel ready to make the transition into work, the Employment Programme identifies job opportunities locally. In the school holidays, the Young Ranger programme invites children with learning disabilities and autism to gain confidence by looking after the farm’s animals and making new friends.
(www.teamdomenica.com) is a Brighton-based charity which has been of fantastic support to a colleague’s autistic son. Founder Rosa Monckton was inspired by her daughter, Domenica, who has Down’s Syndrome, to set up Team Dominica with the mission “To help people with learning disabilities discover their career potential, to create employment opportunities and to remove barriers to work in local communities”.
Team Domenica operates three facilities – a training base, Café Dominica (open to the public) and an employment centre – and there are further centres planned around the country.
If you would like to find out more about these amazing organisations or would like Love Luxury Events to help you plan an amazing event in a great venue, please contact us on the details below and we will be very happy to help.