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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 people 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 people 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 & Hove, 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 people 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 outstanding 75% paid employment rate through our supported internships, more than 12 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 Bulgarian 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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    Lalli Howell
    Trustee

    Lalli Howell was a Head Teacher for a special needs school in Sussex for 20 years. She has extensive experience in the field of autism and special education for early years. Lalli is a member of staff within a NHS autism assessment team as well as an Autism Advisor for both independent and state schools.

  • Jess Flanagan

    Jess Flanagan
    Trustee

    After studying European Legal Studies at the University of Southampton, Jess qualified as a solicitor in 2010 and in 2013 established a Welfare Court of Protection Team at Clarke Willmott LLP in Bristol. Until August 2021, Jess was a Partner at Clarke Willmott LLP managing a small team of lawyers who represented clients in cases in the Court of Protection concerning health and welfare decisions.

    Jess provides bespoke training for advocacy organisations who support adults with additional needs and has written and spoken for national organisations including ‘Community Care’, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Jordan's Family Law, and Elderly Care Law. She regularly speaks at the National Advocacy Conference and presented at IPSEA’s (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice) 2020 conference.

    Jess is currently on a short career break to take time to be with her children, Ada (nearly 5) and Frida who has Down’s syndrome. Jess is part of ‘Positive About Down Syndrome’ (PADS) and works closely with the charity on various projects to support parents. She uses Makaton and is enjoying sessions providing advice around early intervention play with Frida. She has a blog www.fridasfootsteps.uk with the aim of sharing her family’s experiences of Down's syndrome, from antenatal diagnosis to the present day, in the hope that they will help others.’

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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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    Jo Gracie
    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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    Rachel Christy
    Commercial Director

    Rachel joins Team Domenica with 20 years’ experience of working in the hospitality industry. She spent 10 years working at Starbucks as a district manager leading a team of managers. Most recently she has worked in local Brighton high schools as a T/A supporting young people with learning difficulties and as a pastoral leader supporting vulnerable children and their families. Her passion lies around coffee and people. Rachel’s wide experience is the perfect blend to develop Café Domenica and embrace our candidates and keep them at the heart of what we do.

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    Greg van Heeswijk
    Head of Fundraising and Communications

    After graduating the University of Sheffield with a First Class Honours in History and Politics, Greg has been heavily involved in the third sector, volunteering with Oxfam, Shelter, the NSPCC, and acting as the executive director of charity “Belong”– a day service for learning disabled adults in Sheffield. Greg has a wealth of relationship-fundraising and project management experience, having worked for St Luke’s Hospice Sheffield and Cancer Research UK within the areas of charity retail, volunteer management, corporate & community fundraising, and events management. He has also worked extensively in hospitality, travel & tourism, and outdoor education.

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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
    SIP Training Leader

    Liam leads the Supported Internship Program. 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
    Receptionist and Administrator

    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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    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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    Becky Chan
    Senior Job Coach

    Becky joined Team Domenica in October 2017 as a Job Coach supporting Zac in his Supported Internship at The Grand, moving to a Senior Job Coach role in 2018 with a team of Job Coaches. A Job Coach to Domenica, she also co-ordinates the support for the SIPs, working closely with the Job Coaches, teachers and employers to help secure paid employment for our candidates at the end of their placements.

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    Deborah Rayner-Gray
    Training Manager

    I began my career as a chef working in various hospitality venues. Later in my career I was given the opportunity to move into teaching and started working at a local sixth form college, delivering hospitality and catering qualifications to students across different curriculum areas. The students I enjoyed working with most were those with additional needs, so from there I moved on to teaching at a school for Children with Autism where I became part of the Senior Management team as Transition and Careers Co-Ordinator, Head of Food Technology and Personal tutor, teaching across all areas of the school delivering Food Technology to students working at Entry Level up to those who were taking A Levels. I have worked with students with additional needs for over 20 years and enjoy the challenges and rewards this brings.

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    Clare Ventham
    SEP Training Leader

    Clare completed her PGCE at Brighton University and has worked in the Special Educational Needs Sector for four years in the UK and Singapore. Her teaching practice encourages creativity and imagination and she uses this to inspire learning and accelerate her candidates' development.

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    Penny Calvert
    EHCP Coordinator

    Penny has over 20 years' experience of working with children, young people and adults with learning disabilities in a range of settings. She has worked as a Connexions Adviser based in schools, colleges and 6th forms for Brighton & Hove County Council as a Learning Disability Adviser and then within the SEND department as a Case Work Officer.

    I have been the Educational Health & Care Plan (EHCP) Coordinator for Team Domenica for nearly 4 years and have loved working for the charity. Team Domenica enables candidates to grow, flourish and then move into paid employment which is fantastic.

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    Lucy Howells
    Café Manager – Scrummies

    Lucy joined Team Domenica in January 2019. She has extensive and wide-ranging experience in both the catering industry and the learning disability sector, having worked for a similar charity project in Cambridge before joining St John's College Brighton in 2011. Her hotel, restaurant and event catering background has enabled her to seamlessly join the team and she has been our café manager based in Hove library. Recently, she has set up a new café enterprise at St John's College where Team Domenica is now responsible for all the daily catering for staff and students of up to 200 people per day. This has contributed to our ongoing partnership with St John's and provides additional opportunities for all our candidates to flourish.

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    Sammy Reidie
    Café Manager – Preston Road

    I’m Sammy and I’m the Café Manager at Preston Road.
    I value the opportunity to combine my love of food and cooking with supporting our candidates in the training café. I have a therapeutic background and bring this element of active listening skills to my role.

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    Bekki Lindores
    Café Manager – Brighton Dome

    Along with a degree in Psychology my background is in hospitality and catering, social care and education.

    Before joining Team Domenica I worked for many years on a Supported Learning Programme for young adults with LD and ASC. The course gave learners the opportunity to gain vocational skills in hospitality and catering. Students were responsible for preparing, cooking and serving fresh, healthy meals and barista-style coffee to a busy London college.

    I am passionate about promoting positive social change and fighting for diversity in the workplace.

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    Jo Smith
    Café Manager – Hove Library

    I’m a former mainstream primary school teacher with 16 years' experience supporting children with a range of learning disabilities including Down’s syndrome, ASC, hearing impairment and ADHD. I have also worked as a customer services ambassador, preparing and selling fresh produce in the hospitality and retail industry.

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    Charlie Wingate
    Coffee Development Manager

    I have worked for Team Domenica for three years now progressing from a café assistant to a training mentor, and since September I have become our Coffee Development Manager. I love to see the valuable skills and experience our candidates gain from being at Team Domenica. We are very proud to say that we are the First coffee roaster in the UK where the coffee beans are roasted and packaged by young adults with learning disabilities. Our candidates still inspire me everyday with their amazing work ethic, team work and dedication to helping others.

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 St John’s 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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“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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We would like to thank Promo Solved for choosing us as their charity to support throughout 2020-2021.

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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.

  • Charlotte Marshall Charitable Trust

  • Ennismore Charitable Trust

  • Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust

  • Garfield Weston Foundation

  • Invest for Children Foundation

  • Morrisons Foundation

  • OneFamily Foundation

  • Peter Harrison Foundation

  • Polonsky Foundation

  • Porticus

  • Postcode Neighbourhood Trust

  • Savoy Educational Trust

  • Sigrid Rausing Trust

  • Sussex Community Foundation

  • Waitrose Community Partners

  • Carlo Bonomi

  • The Blagrave Trust

  • The Brighton & Hove Communities Fund

  • The Chalk Cliff Trust

  • The Co-op Community Fund

  • The de Laszlo Foundation

  • The Edward Gostling Foundation

  • The Lawson Trust

  • The National Lottery Community Fund

  • The Rayne Foundation

  • The Rothschild Foundation

  • The Street Foundation

  • Hedley Foundation

  • Children in Need / Inspiring Futures

  • Bryan Guinness Charitable Trust

  • MariaMarina Foundation

  • The Henry Smith Charity