Meet Luke. He is someone who has come to enjoy keeping busy, and has spent time learning and volunteering in our Workbridge Garden Centre.
That has led to him recently starting a Trainee Retail Assistant work placement at Daily Bread, a whole food shop in Northampton.
Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and other personality disorders, Luke - a patient at St Andrew's Healthcare for the past six years - is now living in Garden Cottage, a supportive and homely five-bedroom drop-down facility based at our Northampton site.
The placement at Daily Bread aims to prepare Luke for employment once he leaves our care. Here, he explains more...
"I have been at St Andrew’s for six years, and I am now in the process of exploring placements in the community. The last job I had was working at a garden centre more than 10 years ago.
"My Occupational Therapist made me aware that there were placement opportunities at Daily Bread, and she thought I may be interested.
"I completed an application form and sent it back to the Employment Support team. About a week later, I was contacted and told that I had an interview. One of the team, Nick, agreed to come to the interview with me.
"Nick and I went through potential questions I may be asked at the interview so I could get a feel of what to expect. We also worked on getting my CV up to scratch. There was no dress code for the interview, but I went as smart as I possibly could; looking smart always helps.
"They asked me lots of questions, like ‘why do you think you’d be good for this job?’ and ‘what skills can you bring to the workplace?'. The preparation that I did with Nick ensured I was prepared for questions like this.
"I now carry out tasks like stock rotation, stacking shelves, customer service and keeping the shop floor neat and tidy. I like that I am doing something outside of my comfort zone, and I get a lot done in the space of time I am there.
"Although I am working as a trainee, I feel like I am a part of the Daily Bread team. It’s kind of like being welcomed into a family. I feel so at ease. The experience so far is good and if I was asked to do more hours I definitely would!
"This job requires me to use my initiative and I am always open to learning new skills. I have really developed my product knowledge. When customers come in asking for a specific thing, I like that I can direct them to the product they have come in for.
"My aim is to get off of benefits and give back to the community. My ultimate goal is to find a job with animals, but my role at the Daily Bread is giving me transferable skills I can take with me.
"Working will give me a purpose in life. It motivates me and gives me a reason to get up in the morning. I enjoy working, and it will help me make friends and build trusting relationships. I get a really good feeling from it."
About Daily Bread
Daily Bread is a workers co-operative which started trading in 1980. It is located in the Old Laundry in the grounds of St Andrew’s, Northampton (Bedford Road). The organisation has a long standing and strong commitment to Fairtrade principles and products, stocking both organic and local produce, as well as a wide range of gluten free and vegan products. All of their produce is suitable for vegetarians.
John Clarke, Appointed Manager at Daily Bread, said: "One part of the many objectives we have at Daily Bread is support for people with mental health issues by providing work placements. The team have pledged their support to provide our service users the opportunity to develop work skills. Tasks can range from stocking shelves to packing down of the products we sell. This is an important part of Daily Bread and was one of the founding principles when the co-operative was started."
Jane, Luke’s supervisor, added: "It is great having Luke with us. He is a positive energy about the place and a willing and helpful worker. He has tackled different tasks every week with enthusiasm and commitment and we are happy that he wants to increase his hours of work for the next stage of this placement."
St Andrew’s arranges work placements – both internally and externally – for patients and service users. If you would like more information or to arrange a placement, visit our Employment Support page and get in touch with one of the team. For more information about the Daily Bread, please visit the website: http://www.dailybread.co.uk/.