We are a social enterprise charity. Our vision is for people with learning disabilities to be valued in the workplace, to reach their full potential and feel included as members of society.

The
Charity

Our
Story

Founder & Chairman Rosa Monckton, whose younger daughter, Domenica, has Down’s Syndrome, set up the registered charity to help young adults with learning disabilities find and retain meaningful employment.

There are 1.5 million people with learning disabilities in the UK and almost 94% are unemployed. Far too many are missing out on the basic right to aspire to a career, along with the wider social networks, better emotional and physical health, and increased independence that comes from having a job. They share the same aspirations as everyone else and they want nothing more than the opportunity to demonstrate their full potential.

Domenica was Princess Diana’s last godchild, and Rosa passionately promotes the late Princess’s belief that “everybody needs to be valued and everyone has the potential to give something back”.

At Team Domenica, we strongly believe that young adults with learning disabilities have the right to work, to lead fulfilling and purposeful lives, to have their individual gifts and talents recognised, and to feel included as valued members of society.

Based in central Brighton and launched by the actress Julie Walters in September 2016, we operate through a unique three-tier set-up of Training Centre, Training Café (Café Domenica) and Employment Centre. Through this we provide employment programmes to young adults with a wide range of ability, referred to as our ‘candidates’ to more accurately reflect and emphasise their role as people ready for employment.

We have already achieved an impressive 33% employment rate, more than five times higher than the national employment statistic (6%) for people with learning disabilities.

In time, we plan to open other centres along the South Coast, London and then nationally. We believe that we are at the forefront of a movement that will lead to real change in the lives of people with learning disabilities and the way they are perceived by employers and society as a whole.

Together, our mission is to help people with learning disabilities discover their career potential, to create employment opportunities and to remove barriers to work in local communities.

About
Us

Our
Team

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    Rosa Monckton
    Founder & Chairman

    Rosa is a British businesswoman and charity campaigner. Chief Executive of Tiffany’s in London from opening in 1986, Chief Executive of Asprey & Gerrard in 2000, then becoming non-executive chairman in 2002. Rosa is now a non-executive director of Aurum, which is the holding company for Goldsmith, Mappin & Webb and Watches of Switzerland.
    Rosa has been awarded with an MBE for all her charitable work for young people with learning disabilities over the years. She has been involved with several charities including Together for Short Lives, The Acorns Children’s Hospice, Downside UP, The Down’s Syndrome Educational Trust, KIDS (charity) and ulgarian Abandoned Children’s Trust.

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    Alex Polizzi
    Trustee

    After reading English at Oxford University, Alex trained at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, worked for Marco Pierre White at the Criterion and helped open various Rocco Forte properties. She then went on to set up Millers Bakery, with her husband Marcus Miller.
    In 2008, Alex became the host of the highly acclaimed show, The Hotel Inspector. With several series firmly under her belt, Alex's latest venture The Fixer, hit BBC2 in January 2012. She has now done ten years as Hotel Inspector, and three years of travel shows as well as various restaurant programmes for the BBC and Channel 5.
    Millers Bakery is now a 52,000 sq.ft operation, supplying most of the five-star hotels, restaurants and burger joints in London, as well as providing frozen and part-baked bread and pastries across the country.
    Alex is also a trustee of the Landau Forte Academy Trust.

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    Charles Noel
    Trustee

    Charles became a Chartered Accountant after reading English at Trinity College Cambridge. Following 9 years with Coopers & Lybrand in London, Paris & Tehran he has worked as Finance Director for Cartier Ltd, Tiffany & Co Ltd, the Duchy of Lancaster and Asia House. He is Treasurer of Lygon Almshouses and St Thomas’ parish, both in Fulham.

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    Kevin Pakenham
    Trustee

    Kevin Pakenham is co-founder and director of Pakenham Partners, a specialist corporate finance house.
    Working in finance since 1972, he has served on many investment boards and committees, including currently – The Pearson Group Pension Plan, Aberdeen Japan Investment Trust and St Antony’s College, Oxford University.
    Kevin is chairman of the trustees of the Longford Trust, and also a trustee of the Pilgrim Trust. He was a Trustee of the Ireland Fund of Great Britain between 1989 and 2009, serving as honorary treasurer during that time.

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    Matthew Knight
    Trustee

    Matthew Knight attended Newcastle University and the College of Law at Guildford. After completing his articles with Farrer & Co and undertaking two years of post-qualification experience with Sinclair Roche & Temperley, Matthew joined Cripps Harries Hall in 1984. Two years later, Matthew became a partner. In 1994, he established Knights Solicitors and Matthew has acted in a number of reported cases. Boasting many areas of expertise and with more than 20 years of experience, Matthew Knight has received a wealth of positive feedback from his clients. Matthew is listed in elite 'Leading Lawyers' list, The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2017’s guide to outstanding lawyers nationwide. Married with three daughters, Matthew’s pastimes include shooting and tennis. Matthew is also Clerk to the Donnington Hospital Trust.

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    Lisa Campbell - Squires
    Programme & Strategy Director

    Lisa has 25 years of experience of working with young people with ASC, MLD, SLD, PMLD and complex needs. She has worked alongside a wide range of professionals and experts to create individualised programmes, placing young people at the centre of their learning.
    She has piloted several successful inclusion projects and worked in a wide range of specialist educational settings, including providing high quality bespoke post 16 specialist provision and post 19 transition. She has also worked in the charity sector.
    Lisa has always pioneered new ways of working that make a real difference to the lives of young people with a learning disability. Whilst recently studying for an MA in Experimental Psychology Lisa explored how innovative technology can be developed to support people with Autism. She believes passionately in expanding neurodiversity in the workplace and that the benefits this brings to corporate business is of equal value to that of the young person with a learning disability they employ.

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    Danielle Dodd
    Operations Director

    Danielle was born in Australia and spent her early career in fashion and retail management. She spent 12 years working in the film industry in London, and then opened her own cafe and retail store in Brighton gaining full knowledge of Food Safety & Hygiene standards and hospitality. Danielle is highly skilled in operations and takes a creative approach to problem solving. She is mother of two girls and has a niece with severe learning disabilities enabling her to support to our candidates on a more personal level.

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    Jo Cook
    Executive Director

    Jo has an extensive knowledge of workplace wellbeing consultancy, having previously worked in the employee benefits industry, alongside experience in new business development and relationship management.
    Jo is passionate about driving positive change and has demonstrated through her communications skills and eye for detail, successful development of new fundraising and marketing strategies. As one of the first staff to be recruited by Team Domenica, Jo provides effective finance, marketing and trustee governance support to the charity.

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    Jeanette Thompson
    Project Manager

    Jeanette is a professional manager with over 12 years’ experience working within marketing and publishing. Prior to joining Team Domenica, she worked at a Brighton-based marketing communications agency, where she headed up a team responsible for producing brochures and smaller marketing pieces for a portfolio of clients. Jeanette has also set up and run her own publishing business and worked as the managing editor at The Latest magazine and as a sub-editor at Cable Guide. She has also undertaken fundraising and event organisation for both Oxfam and Greenpeace.

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    Diana Purdie
    Curriculum & Assessment Leader

    Diana worked in the University of London Careers Advisory Service, then as a computer programmer before training to be a teacher. She has over twenty years of teaching experience in subjects including Science, Health & Social Care and Food Technology, and most recently delivering the ASDAN Certificate in Employability to sixth form students with learning disabilities. She also brings valuable experience of running a small business and café to the team.

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    Liam Smith
    Training Leader

    Liam studied Special Educational Needs and Inclusion at Northampton University and has written professional research papers on low unemployment rates for young adults with SEN and improvements through education. He has a vast amount of care and education experience working with adults with Special Educational Needs (SEN) before joining Team Domenica.

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    Dawn Adams
    Training Leader

    Dawn began her career as a primary school teacher, during which time she developed a passion for teaching children with a range of special needs and learning disabilities. She later had the opportunity to support in the Food Technology and Design & Technology department at a local secondary school and most recently worked as a teacher in the Circle Project, which supported and taught students with a variety of complex needs. She delivered all curriculum subjects and prepared multi-sensory resources for subject support, developing new and personalised programmes for the teaching and learning of Maths, including the delivery and assessment of Entry Level qualifications and Life Skills.

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    Kate Payne
    Senior Training Mentor

    Kate provides specialist support to our candidates, helping them to reveal hidden talents, develop skills and express themselves through creativity. Whilst having widespread experience in working with people with learning disabilities, she also has a background in teaching the violin and playing with various bands and orchestras.

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    Daina Joblin-Hall
    Training Mentor

    Born in New Zealand, Daina grew up in a big family of nine children, with two girls who have down syndrome, in an open house for children with learning disabilities.
    She has previously worked as a carer in New Zealand, a personal carer to Domenica, and has worked in cafes and Restaurants in New Zealand, Australia and London. With her combined care and hospitality experience Daina provides exceptional support to our candidates who are gaining practical work experience within our Training Café.

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    Daisy Thomas
    Training Mentor

    Daisy has an Art History degree from University of Sussex, and volunteer background experience in rest bite centres around the South West. Outside of work Daisy runs her own pottery business and female art group. Highly skilled and creative, she uses the arts to draw out a candidate's hidden talents whilst supporting them to reach their full potential in the workplace.

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    Emily Hitchcock
    Employer Partnership Manager

    Emily has over 20 years Account Management and Business Development experience. She has worked in the pharmaceutical, catering, property management and TV distribution industries which has given her the knowledge and experience required to deal with a wide variety of companies in her role at Team Domenica. She has particular strengths in relationship building, communicating and problem solving.
    Emily has 3 children the oldest child of which has ASD so she can relate to the challenges faced by those with additional needs.

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    Emma Palmer
    Brighton Cafe Manager

    Emma has previously worked as an Individual Needs Assistant to SEN children, and has also trained as a professional Chef. Having worked in a variety or restaurants, pubs and cafes in East Sussex, she is dedicated to developing skills whilst providing real work experience to people with learning disabilities.

Our
Partnerships

Team Domenica provides a range of employment programmes, with progression to supported internships, and wherever possible on to paid employment. Working in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College, local employers, activity providers and charities, we are delivering an essential education, training and support service within the Brighton & Hove community.

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Greater Brighton Metropolitan College CEO Nick Juba says: “The MET is proud to continue working with Team Domenica. Now in its second year of operation, the project helps to create opportunities for our Foundation students to gain employment following their achievements at college.”

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“We are delighted to continue our journey with Team Domenica as we move from work experience to employment and we hope for continued success with the team.”

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“We are extremely proud to be working with Team Domenica by helping their candidates gain valuable work experience here at Posh Totty Designs. We work at providing relevant projects that allow the candidates the opportunity to plan and prioritise their work and to develop together as a team. All the candidates we have encountered are a joy to work with and we are happy to provide as much experience as possible.”

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“It’s a hard task for anyone starting out on their own, but with a fantastic organisation like Team Domenica behind them, these young people have a fighting chance.”

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“Holiday Inn Brighton is delighted to be working as a partner with Team Domenica, helping candidates gain a valuable insight into hotel operations, and providing work experience that will lead to employment. As a General Manager, I am really proud to be associated with such a caring, motivational and inspiring charity. From day one the support has been amazing and we look forward to continued successes for years to come.”

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“It is a pleasure to work with Team Dominica, giving candidates the opportunity to gain work experience and practise skills learnt in the classroom.”

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“Hurst College is delighted to be working with Team Domenica. By offering work placements to local young adults with learning disabilities we hope not only to enrich their lives, but also the lives of our pupils as they continue to develop a sense of community responsibility. We are so pleased we have been able to support Team Domenica’s unique project.”

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We have really enjoyed having the Team Domenica candidates at Ricochet as part of the team. We have found meeting and spending time with the candidates really rewarding and we find the response from the whole office is positive. We hope the candidates are also enjoying being part of our team and are learning a lot.

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“It wouldn’t be the same without the Team Domenica candidates now. They are part of the team. It’s great to know that certain jobs will be taken care of by the candidates and that you don’t have to worry about it being done.”

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“When we were approached by Team Domenica and considered the Supported Internship Programme, as a business our experience was very limited. The key to the success we have had is down to the groundwork that was done prior to candidates joining us. The support structures and the guidance from Team Domenica has been invaluable in helping all parties make the internship the success it has become. The whole team really enjoy working with candidates, we have built a fantastic relationship that the whole team are very proud of.”

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“Team Domenica has professionally assisted all parties to ensure a safe working environment and has been a pleasure to work with. I cannot recommend the work that Team Domenica does highly enough and hope to enhance the relationship with Brighton Harbour Hotel further.”

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“We are delighted to have a Team Domenica candidate on board working in our kitchen team.”

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“After being truly inspired by Team Domenica and their work, we decided to get involved by meeting some of the candidates. The Bill’s team absolutely love the candidates and they all have fun whilst gaining experience within a live working environment. Keep up the great work Team Domenica!”

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Our
Donors

Thank
You

We would like to thank all our donors, charitable trusts and foundations, who have so generously contributed within our current financial year. Without your support the essential work that we do would simply not be possible.

We also thank all those who contributed through our 'Virgin Money Giving' platform. From £3 donations to £5,000, every single pound helps us in our aim to get young adults with learning disabilities into employment.

  • Aminah Al Sabah

  • Bamford Charitable Trust

  • Carlo Bonomi

  • Crispin Odey

  • David Kowitz

  • First Charterhouse

  • Forte Charitable Trust

  • Giovanni Emo Capodilista

  • Hatton Ltd

  • Hedley Foundation

  • Invest for Children Foundation

  • Olga Polizzi

  • Plummer Parsons

  • Polizzi Family Trust

  • Red Lynch Charitable Trust

  • Sigrid Rausing Trust

  • The Co-op Community Fund

  • The Childwick Trust

  • The Lennox Hannay Charitable Trust

  • The Wolfson Foundation

  • Garfield Weston Foundation

  • One Family Foundation

  • Big Lottery Fund