Laura’s Story

Laura has cerebral palsy and uses an electric wheelchair. She enjoys school and loves to chat using a communications device. She co-leads a “Friends of Dorin Park” group at the School, attended by ex-pupils who come in to meet and hear guest speakers.
In the past Laura completed a short spell of work experience, with another provider, learning about planting vegetables. This placement proved tedious for Laura as she has a great deal to offer in terms of ideas and enthusiasm and now wanted a placement in an office environment where she could mix with others and use her range of computer skills.

Bren Project staff approached Sainsburys Chester with a view to a placement in their HR and admin office. Sainsburys have a long association with the Bren Project and were able to accommodate a range of adaptations to accommodate Laura. Laura undertook a placement from March to May 2009.

Her tasks included updating staff holiday and absence databases, printing name badges and helping to redesign Sainsbury’s community activity display. She also had a session in the Bakery learning how to bake bread and make doughnuts! She was supported throughout by her job coach who closely monitored her progress. Although her productivity was at times hampered by her disability she more than made up for it in terms of her enthusiasm and infectious humour.

The aim was for Laura to learn new practical skills, improve her communication, develop her initiative and learn to stay on task. Beneficiary weekly diaries, job coach reports, monitoring reviews, feedback from parents, teachers and the school and the final review all indicate that Laura achieved these aims. Laura has now left school and gone to college to further her education. The experience at Sainsbury’s has shown her that she can fit into a mainstream, productive workplace and it has focused her mind on office/administrative work as a career path for the future.