“I get to serve customers, make sure they are okay, and if there are any problems people come to me…I can feel confident that I can train other people.”

 

This is Toby. Toby has a learning disability and first accessed Grace Eyre 11 years ago, as a Travel Buddy Volunteer. As a volunteer, Toby very proudly supported several people over 6 weeks to learn the skills necessary to travel independently, and this is something he looks back on with fond memories.

He soon made quite an impression and was put forward to be interviewed to become a Kitchen Assistant at Grace Eyre’s Angel Café. Many years of dedicated hard work, tailored support and training has meant that Toby has been able to take on the role of Kitchen Head. With support of Grace Eyre managers and supported employment staff he has been able to undertake qualifications in Food Safety and Catering (L2), First Aid and Fire Safety. Toby is looking forward to being an active part of Grace Eyre’s employment programme, and hopes to be able to pass on his skills to new volunteers looking for work.

Staff at Grace Eyre feel very confident in Toby’s abilities to deal with challenging situations and he has proven himself to prioritise the reputation of the charity. He speaks about his biggest challenge being when he set out the task of improving Angel Café’s Food and Hygiene rating from 4 to 5 stars. He successfully was able to achieve the 5-star rating and has been applauded for his efforts.

“It was hard to get it back, but I didn’t want the café to close…I love cooking, it’s in my blood.”

 

Toby speaks about Grace Eyre having a positive effect on his personal life and he has made many meaningful friendships. He has been able to transfer the skills he has learnt at work to get creative in the kitchen at home.

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