Milestones Trust

Will you work with me?

Stephen's story

“I tell everyone I’m the No1 Head Kitchen Porter! I love my job and everyone there, we have great fun filled with lots of laughter”


As part of our Learning Disability week, we are exploring the themes set by Mencap and one of them is ‘Will you work with me?’

Stephen has been working at Spire Hospital as a Kitchen Porter since July 3rd, 1989. He loves his job and the friendships he has developed, so much so that, when he hit retirement age last year, he asked to stay on three days a week! The friendships he has created at work are super important to Stephen, and his boss Darren, who he calls “No1 Boss”, means the world to him.

Darren has been working as head chef at Spire Hospital for many years and recently told Stephen that he had plans to move on and leave his job, which saddened Stephen deeply. However, they both remain great friends and Darren likes to take Stephen out for the day to ensure they keep their strong friendship going!

Darren said “In all the kitchens I’ve ever worked in, Stephen is one of a small handful of employees, who are loyal, reliable, flexible and hardworking.  He is such a loveable, caring, funny and kind person.  Having a common interest in football brought us closer together but his strong work ethic is a credit to himself, his family and to Spire.  I was with Steve at Spire for nine years – he is the ‘No 1 KP (Kitchen Porter) and I’m the No 1 Boss’. The only time he was off sick was due to COVID and considering he takes four buses to and from work, he was only ever late a few times!  I haven’t got a single bad word to say about Steve. Everybody knows Steve has a disability, but due to his nature, everybody loves him and treats him equally.  He can give as good as he gets too, by leaving notes around the kitchen.  It took me some time to realise his threshold and the things that would wind him up or simply upset him.  His mood changed, and boy he would tell everyone about it.  For example, if the buses were late, Liverpool losing, or if I changed people’s shifts and especially if someone had been sitting in my office chair.  He would do anything for me and likewise, I love that man with all my heart.”

Darren has worked with employees with additional needs most of his life and the development he has gained from this has ensured Stephen’s success. He said “It’s important to have a supportive manager, as Stephen’s challenges are different to everyone else’s. But having a supportive manager gives the reassurance that they are being looked out for if there is further help or support needed.  I certainly wouldn’t hesitate in employing someone with additional needs in the future – they are some of the most hardworking and loyal members of the team.”

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