A journey from lockdown to Fair Shot Café Trainee

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Bede House
by Gwen Green

This is the remarkable story of one man who does not let his Learning Disability get in the way. Bede first knew Emmanuel Nuaneh, who has a mild learning disability, during the lockdown in June 2020. He now comes to the Bede Centre twice a week for activities and employment support.

Unemployed, not in education or training and with no regular activities, he was financially dependent on his family. Despite having them, he felt socially isolated from his peers.

To begin with, Emmanuel took part in Bede’s Zoom on-line activities, including keep fit, art, news, music and cooking. Once opened, he joined various activities at our satellite centre including gardening and maintaining the Bede Allotment. By summer, 2021 Emmanuel began a supported volunteer placement at Surrey Docks Farm, working as part of a team sifting and bagging up compost.

A keen and talented footballer, Emmanuel joined the Bede Football Team attending weekly training sessions run by Millwall FC and Bede staff. With the South London Special League re-starting, he played several tournaments for Millwall A team winning several medals and accolades. He aspires to one day captain the A team.

Emmanuel joined the Collaborate employment project run by Bede, which has given him the means to gain financial independence and develop his employability skills. Emmanuel had expressed an interest in customer facing roles and wanted to focus on building his confidence towards finding a work placement to gain some experience.

With Colloborate, Emmanuel completed an employability course and did so well he was made aware of a training programme run by social enterprise, The Fair Shot Café in Mayfair. The café supports adults with a Learning Disability to gain on the job experience whilst completing job related qualifications. It had featured on BBC news towards the end of last year.

Twelve trainees are recruited annually and, with the help of his Bede employment worker, Emmanuel applied after talking to staff and other trainees about what it was like working there.

Making the shortlist and supported to attend an interview where he performed extremely well receiving excellent feedback from the panel, Emmanuel walked out of the Café, head held high and smiling. He said himself, “I think it went really well and I made them laugh too!”

Recently we received the news that Emmanuel had been successful and was offered a place on the Traineeship programme starting in September. This is a fantastic outcome for him and shows a great journey in a relatively short period of time which has seen him become more sociable, make new friends, become more active and a part of his community. Starting from a supported volunteer placement at Surrey Docks Farm, Emmanuel has learned and developed new skills, grown in confidence and moved towards being work ready.

Emmanuel has a bright future ahead of him.