Trading Places

Certitude’s CEO, Aisling Duffy and Director of Mental Health, Nicholas Campbell-Watts recently had the opportunity to don some chef whites and work alongside the kitchen staff at Abbevilles restaurant in Clapham.

Abbevilles is a social enterprise run by First Step Trust [FST], which aims to support people with learning disabilities and/or mental health support needs to get back into paid employment. FST’s other businesses include SMaRT Garage Services in Woolwich, West Norwood and Salford.

The Trading Places initiative has attracted senior staff from a wide range of industry, housing and local government to work alongside trainees and staff in the kitchen or garages. Aisling and Nicholas both found the experience incredibly valuable.

Aisling said “I really enjoyed my time taking part in Trading Places at Abbevilles I was hugely impressed by everyone working in the kitchen, a really supportive environment where everyone has an important role in producing and serving the most amazing food. Although not usually known for my culinary skills, we made the best cheese biscuits ever!”

“Initiatives like this highlight, in a simple yet powerful way, that when the right conditions are created people who may be considered far from employment can flourish and contribute, including in fast-paced industries. People with learning disabilities or mental health needs have the right to work and organisations such as FST and Certitude will continue to collaborate so more people can gain the skills, confidence and self-esteem that come with having a job.”

Certitude works in partnership with FST as part of the Lambeth Collaborative, increasing employment opportunities for people with mental health support needs and/or learning disabilities.

You can find out more about the Abbevilles Restaurant here and the garage services here via the FST’s website.