Pupils from learning disability school, college and charity, St. John’s, provided another organisation, Friday Friends, with their Christmas Lunch on 15 December at community owned pub, The Bevy.
Friday Friends is a Brighton based organisation which has been running for over two years. They provide community activities, social experiences and a cooked meal at The Bevy every Friday for elderly, socially isolated and/or physically disabled people.
They provide respite for their attendees who struggle with mobility and do not get out of the house as often as they would like. The initiative is run entirely by volunteers and offers a free minibus service that collects attendees from their doorstop and drops them off afterwards. Activities on offer include raffles, bingo, card games, board games and trips in the community.
Following a work experience partnership between The Bevy and St. John’s School and College students have been going every week since September to help prepare food, cook it and serve it to the Friday Friends group. This Friday is particularly exciting as The Bevy, Friday Friends and St. John’s will be tackling one of their toughest challenges yet- delivering a full Christmas lunch for over 50 people.
The five St. John’s pupils taking part in this work experience programme are aged 19-21 and all have complex learning disabilities, special needs and/or severe communication difficulties. They’re getting life changing catering and hospitality experience, developing social skills and gaining confidence with the hopes of finding paid employment when they leave the college.
This is all done with the support of Iain Chambers, General Manager of The Bevy and St. John’s support staff.
Sarah Hamilton, Work Experience Coordinator at St. John’s, said, “The impact this project has already had on our learners is immeasurable. They love having the opportunity to work in a professional setting whilst helping other vulnerable people in the community.
“It gives the students a sense of pride and responsibility and is giving them invaluable work experience that reflects their aspirations. We can’t wait to see all the learners’ hard work come to fruition at the Friday Friends Christmas meal.”
Find out more about Friday Friends here.