Here at Team Domenica we are proud to be making a
real difference not only to our candidates’ lives but also
to those in our wider community. Check out some of our
success stories here.

Our
Impact

Success
Stories

Our Impact

Alexandra

Our Impact

Alexandra

“When I look back two years to when she first joined Team Domenica, I see a very different Alex to the one I see today…

Alex has not had a particularly easy life. Quite apart from her learning disability, she has had to face some major struggles… For a long time, Alex found it difficult to articulate the feelings that she had – like anxiety, embarrassment, worry and anger. As a consequence, she would often become upset and cry, detaching herself from group activities.” – Jonathan, Alex’s father

Since joining Team Domenica, both Alex’s father and our staff have seen a huge turn around in Alex’s outlook on life. Our holistic approach was the key to bringing about this change and helping Alex – rather than insisting on 100% engagement on her training course, Team Domenica focused on helping Alex reach a point where she was happy again. When she isolated herself, we appealed to her generous nature by suggesting that she help another candidate; we developed her communication skills by asking her to explain what she was thinking and feeling. From these conversations, Alex began to understand herself and her own needs.

With the support of staff and the kindness of her fellow candidates, Alex began to find the courage and confidence to become involved in Team Domenica’s activities, and now actively participates and enjoys them.

“Challenges that she would have shrunk from 18 months ago she now embraces! I have witnessed Alex becoming an increasingly self-confident, articulate, independent and happy young woman – so much so that by her second year, Alex’s one-to-one support was not felt to be necessary.” – Jonathan

Alex has experienced such an incredible transformation. With the support of our friends at Grace Eyre, Alex has even become an independent traveller, able to get from home to each of our projects – something that would have been hard to imagine when she first arrived at Team Domenica. She is a ray of light, projecting and lifting everyone’s mood with her infectious attitude – we cannot imagine Team Domenica now without her.

“Team Domenica has made me happy.” – Alex

Our Impact

Josh

Our Impact

Josh

Before Josh joined Team Domenica, his parents were convinced that his autism, communication difficulties and anxiety would mean that his dream to work in the catering industry would never become a reality. With Team Domenica, he completed educational modules, which helped him to develop his communication skills, along with practical skills such as money-handling. Our enrichment activities allowed him to gain confidence, develop social skills, build strong friendships – and even meet his girlfriend, Frankie! But it was putting his new skills into practise in Café Domenica that his passion for catering really shone through.

Team Domenica was able to match Josh to a supported internship with Jurys Inn. Josh’s Job Coach worked with him to manage his anxiety using his love of rules and his role was adjusted to focus on tasks where his autism helped him to excel. 

“It’s tough to be alone. Team Domenica and Jurys Inn are always there for me. They give me the confidence to never give up and keep trying.” Josh

Team Domenica also provided training for the Jurys Inn team to help them understand Josh and his needs.

“Josh is a valued work colleague, but it is true that we sometimes don’t understand his behaviour. The training has been really helpful for our team and we now better understand Josh.” Natalie Perez, waitress at Jurys Inn.

Less than a year from when he first stepped foot in the hotel, Josh was offered paid employment at Jurys Inn! Then just a few months later, Josh was nominated for the Most Outstanding Person Award at the Brighton and Hove Hotelier Awards – and he won!

“When I won the award it made me jump up and scream with happiness!” Josh

Zac

Our Impact

Zac

Our Impact

Zac

“I am very happy as I love working. I’m a baker so I’m so pleased that Team Domenica helped me to get a job making cakes for the afternoon teas at The Grand hotel.”

When Zac first joined Team Domenica, he had high levels of anxiety and found it hard to be in group situations. Lacking in confidence, he found social interaction very difficult, often isolating himself from others and choosing not to take part in activities.

We quickly recognised Zac’s potential as a natural and talented baker. Through in-house work experience at Café Domenica and taking part in our enrichment programme, Zac’s ability to manage his anxiety and difficult situations greatly improved. Our supported employment programme offered him high levels of social interaction and continued to develop his communication skills, confidence and independence.Based on his career aspirations, our Employment Centre matched Zac to a supported internship with partnered employer The Grand hotel. With ongoing support to Zac and the employer, a permanent position of paid employment was offered.

“What an eye-opener, a journey I thought I’d never take, but so very glad I did. Working with Zac has taught me so much about myself and he has been an inspiration – his dedication, commitment and confidence has grown to unbelievable heights, to which I applaud him, it is an absolute pleasure to offer Zac a position at The Grand hotel.” Alan White, Executive Chef, The Grand

Our Impact

Katrina

Our Impact

Katrina

 “Team Domenica has helped me to build up my confidence and made me feel good in myself. I’m really enjoying my work at the Co-op and feeling a part of the team.”

Prior to joining Team Domenica, Katrina had applied for a number of jobs and despite having a strong skills base, was unsuccessful.  This rejection led to a huge loss of personal confidence.

Team Domenica has since helped a very fragile Katrina to build resilience through training in the Café and various enrichment programmes. Significantly, making mistakes in the Café and learning how to recover from them have hugely boosted Katrina’s confidence.

The support and training given have seen Katrina flourish, so much so that she is now an ambassador for Team Domenica, and a kind and empathetic peer mentor to less-able candidates in the programme.

Through Team Domenica’s Employer Partnerships Scheme, Katrina’s work-experience placements have helped her to develop the communication and social skills that she is now confidently using on the shop floor at the Co-op.

With ongoing support from her job coach, provided by Team Domenica, Katrina has successfully integrated into the staff team there and is now receiving further training to widen her skill set for other roles.

Written by Team Domenica volunteer writer Julie Middleton

Our Impact

Natasha

Our Impact

Natasha

“I am the first person to get paid work at Team Domenica. I have never in my life been first at anything, it’s such a brilliant feeling. It’s great to feel valued.”

Natasha came to Team Domenica with little work experience, but with aspirations for paid work.

Confident, kind and talkative,  her in-house placement and training at Team Domenica have given Natasha the additional skills needed to secure a placement ideally suited to her natural abilities. Working in the Café and role play exercises helped significantly improve Natasha’s communication and listening skills, essential for effective and professional customer service.

Natasha now works on one of the doughnut stalls on Brighton Pier. With the support of her job coach, she has found it easy to develop strategies to rise to any new challenges and her initial placement quickly consolidated into three shifts of fully paid work. Brighton Pier has remarked that her exemplary reliability and timekeeping have been a real asset over busy weekend periods. Natasha is now saving for a deposit on a flat with her fiancé.

Building on her customer service skills and with increased confidence, Natasha is now also working as a part-time receptionist for Team Domenica, answering the phones and passing on messages.

Written by Team Domenica volunteer writer Julie Middleton