I like to work, it makes me feel happy.
Gabby has taken some big steps forward recently.
Late last year, she moved into a new supported living service managed by the Trust. The service is a home for four young people with learning disabilities, all of whom are living away from their family homes for the first time.
This has been a big change for Gabby, but she’s pleased to have the opportunity to develop greater independence. “Not living with my Mum anymore is a bit strange for me, but I’m learning lots of life skills, like doing my washing in the mornings,” she says.
For the last few years, Gabby has been a regular attendee at Stepping Forward, our day opportunities service based in Warmley, South Gloucestershire. At Stepping Forward, people have the chance to take part in activities, and are supported to access the community. For Gabby, this usually means support with going swimming or doing her food shopping.
Gabby recently talked to a staff member at Stepping Forward about how she would like to find some voluntary work. So, her team set about finding the right opportunity for her. Made Forever, a community centre in Kingswood, were looking for volunteers in their kitchen. Gabby was already familiar with Made Forever, so working there appealed to her.
Kate, one of the support workers at Stepping Forward, helped Gabby to prepare for a meeting she had set up with the staff at the café. Kate referred to the meeting as an ‘informal chat’ rather than a ‘job interview’, as she knew that this would prevent Gabby from feeling apprehensive.
The meeting was a success, and now Gabby is volunteering at the café for two and a half hours every week. Kate accompanies Gabby to her shifts, and initially stayed with Gabby in the kitchen so she could help her to carry out her duties. Now Gabby has become more comfortable and needs less support.
“I’m slowly trying to pull away,” says Kate, “I’m still in the building, but I’m not there by her side. It’s about trying to build her confidence up, she’s getting on really well.”
Gabby is enjoying her increased independence, and in the future would like to experience working with animals.
“I enjoy talking to the customers, and making bacon and egg sandwiches,” Gabby says. “I like to work, it makes me feel happy.”