Today’s guest blog comes from Miranda Hoogewerf, who is the Proprietor of Langleys Restaurant & Wine Bar in Surbiton. Here she talks about her experiences in employing young disabled people:
I have worked within the special needs field for a number of years. It became increasingly apparent that although young people with disabilities are very well supported in this country, this support comes to a grinding halt from the age of 19. Families and individuals with disabilities are left stranded without any purposeful direction.
I have recently moved away from working with special needs children and have opened my own restaurant with my husband. My vision was to establish a successful business and also be able to use this business to help give opportunities to disabled people. I approached a local school and discussed the possibility of trialling this vision. We have set up our kitchen preparation area with PECS (picture exchange communication system) which allows us to help non verbal communicators and people with autism.
We understand that the kitchen area can be quite a frenetic and noisy place at times, so we ensure that shifts are allocated in the morning or between the lunch and dinner service. We have a team of around 15 employers, many of who have never had any contact with people with disabilities. They have learnt and now appreciate how hard it can be doing the simple tasks we take for granted. As a team they also realised what a privilege it is to be able bodied, employed and doing something they enjoy.
Staff morale and supporting each other has also been a positive outcome, along with taking the time to encourage each other and lending a hand to help each other out. As a business, we will continue to actively look for people who would like to seek experience at our restaurant and hopefully with a framework that has been tried and tested we will also encourage other local businesses to do the same.
See more about the business here – http://www.langleysrestaurant.co.uk/
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