Lindsay’s journey: Becoming a Prep Chef at The Botanist

WorkFit Candidate Lindsay found successful employment at The Botanist in Warrington, with the support of WorkFit.

Lindsay started her WorkFit journey back in May 2021, after watching the DSA Update: Going Forward, and videos of other people finding jobs through WorkFit. Lindsay had a job working at Warrington hospital and had been there 14 years as a Kitchen Assistant before registering with WorkFit. The pandemic arrived and everything changed, the café had to close, and Lindsay started to investigate other options.
In July 2021, The Botanist in Warrington registered with WorkFit after hearing the success of the programme at other sites across the country. Eamonn, Site Manager at The Botanist, said he felt lucky to be in a position where he could enable people to have an equal opportunity in the workplace, noting that he ‘wanted to be a small part of that’.

Working together to ensure a successful start

To ensure that Lindsay’s position would be a success, staff from The Botanist team received Down’s syndrome awareness training. This covered a range of relevant areas, including workplace communication and the best ways to support an employee who has Down’s syndrome. Eamonn said,

“I found the employer training invaluable to the whole process. I learnt so much about Down’s syndrome that I just didn’t know before. It enabled me to better understand Lindsay and ensure her employment was as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible. I am lucky to have Lindsay on our team and get as much from Lindsay, as she does from us!”.

After a successful informal interview and site visit, Lindsay started her job in September 2021, working twelve hours a week as a Prep Chef.

Excelling in the role

Lindsay explained, “The best thing about working at The Botanist is that my job is much more exciting and I’m learning new things all the time. I feel happy working alongside my team at The Botanist, they make me feel part of the team and all that I do is important”.

This is reflected by Lindsay’s family who told us, “Since Lindsay started work at the Botanist she has grown so much in confidence. She looks forward to every shift and is enjoying all the new challenges that are given to her. Working at The Botanist has given her independence back and the team there have been amazing and have accepted her, even with all her quirkiness!”

Lindsay has excelled in her position at The Botanist, she is a popular and highly regarded member of the team. Eammon reflected on his experiences of employing Lindsay;

“From the moment I met Lindsay, I knew her cheeky personality would be perfect for us in Warrington. She has really come out of her comfort zone and seems to take everything in her stride, doing every task to the best of her ability. It was clear that Lindsay enjoys the different elements of the role and being sociable as she is, the team took to her straight away. She is now part of the furniture in that kitchen!

I have gained a real insight into equal opportunities within the workplace, especially for people who have Down syndrome. I think it is so important that we broaden our horizons and not judge a book by its cover, so to speak. Down’s syndrome does not stop anyone from doing the job and if anything, it inspires the team around them to better themselves! I have gained a huge amount of respect for the programme and look forward to seeing Lindsay’s bright future develop.”

Lindsay received outstanding support from her colleagues at The Botanist, who are passionate and committed. We are very grateful to The Botanist for their continued dedication to the WorkFit programme. 

To find out more about WorkFit and how we support people who have Down’s Syndrome to access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives, please contact the team on 0333 12 12 300 or email us on dsworkfit@downs-syndrome.org.uk For more information visit the WorkFit website: www.dsworkfit.org.uk

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