Two Charities Working Together Gain International Acclaim
By Jonathan Byrne
The National Development Team for Inclusion selected a partnership between two charities, Tower Project and The Royal Foundation of St Katharine, as an example of excellence in providing employment opportunities for young disabled people during an Erasmus visit from French and Portuguese groups.
For the past year The Royal Foundation of St Katharine has been working with Tower Project, a local charity, which enables and empowers people with disabilities to develop opportunities, become independent, participate fully in education, employment and have a voice in the community.
During their Supported Internship, the Tower Project students have gained experience in several departments working in St Katharine’s House, St Katharine’s Precinct and the Yurt Cafe. The students have been an amazing help to the St Katharine’s team while learning a great deal about the world of work. In addition they have also inadvertently provided St Katharine’s staff with direct relevant disability awareness training.
The Tower Project JET (Job, Enterprise and Training) Supported Internship at St Katharine’s
has been a real success in providing the students with transferable skills that prepare them to seek employment opportunities in all areas of hospitality and catering. The success of the projects can be attributed to a number of factors. The Tower Project spends a lot of time understanding the students and getting to know their needs and personalities. While on the internship, the students have dedicated support workers who guide them as they undertake duties at St Katharine’s.
In Summer 2017, St Katharine’s had the pleasure of hosting a selection of interested parties providing Vocational Training for disabled people from France and Portugal. The groups included academics, employers, parents, young people and training providers who wanted to see the Tower Project students in action in St Katharine’s wonderful urban oasis. The Erasmus visitors learned a great deal about the best methods of supporting people with learning disabilities to be ready to enter the workplace. The Tower Project JET Supported Internship is also unique in being the only service provider chosen for the Erasmus visit.
The visit to St Katharine’s was organised by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi). Linda Jordan from NDTi was extremely pleased: “I am writing to thank you so much for hosting the Erasmus visit on Wednesday. Not only were the visitors impressed with the partnership between yourselves and the Tower Project and the fantastic interns but also with your beautiful place. Your hospitality was superb – the food and welcome – but having a Portuguese and a French member of staff was truly the icing on the cake – and they were both fabulous. A perfect day – thank you again for such a warm welcome and quality experience.”