Fabulous Work Experience Programme from Parkside!

Published: Tuesday 12 March 2019 by CMPP


Parkside’s FAB Café Work Experience initiative has helped 16 young people with learning disabilities and countless customers!

The project, a Café based within Farnborough Library, offered 16 young people with a learning disability the opportunity of work experience. Parkside asked for support with an electronic till, a typical piece of equipment in commercial cafés, to make sure they were (and are) offering the best opportunities of skills training for our clients. The till purchased has a touch screen facility enabling clients to read and recognise products which has been brilliant in helping them understand money handling and customer service. Parkside’s FAB Café have also linked the till to a handepay device which now allows them to take card payments, again increasing the skills base of their clients.

Jackie Carr, Development Manager at Parkside, said: “We have been delighted that our 16 clients and their families have benefited from the training. We are now one year on and some of the clients have moved onto other volunteer opportunities. Some still have one session but we do have 6 new clients that have a place on the scheme. Many parents have told us that the training provided in things like Level 2 food hygiene (which they all passed) was interesting as they have greater awareness at home of these issues. For a lot of them the main benefit has been confidence building - even our quieter clients have really found their voices with the lovely customers at the Café.”

The café has been a real success! In all honesty we have reached people that now actively come to our Café because of who we are and what we stand for; ’inclusion’. Customers openly say they had little to no understanding, sometimes even the wrong understanding of people with a learning disability. Customers enjoy the experience of the café over the other town centre establishments and the feedback received is truly 100% positive. Parkside are also encouraging their clients to have dialogue with the delivery and maintenance service engineers that come to the café. This again has broken down barriers of misunderstanding. Parkside’s FAB Café have secured services from a nearby company as part of their charity work to maintain the items in the commercial kitchen!

“Lovely friendly staff, so enjoyed our treat being a special needs parent/carer I can’t afford the prices in town.”

“I have rediscovered my local library because of  the Café. Such a great place to visit with or without the grandchildren!”

“The service is excellent and they are still in training; just brilliant!"

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