Geek Retreat

Geek Retreat is a vibrant cafe venue in Chelmsford, where you can meet, eat, trade, and game in all things geeky.
Geek Retreat

“I wanted to create an inclusive venue where everyone would feel safe and comfortable to come along and have fun."

Richard, the owner of Geek Retreat Chelmsford, explained “I wanted to create an inclusive venue where everyone would feel safe and comfortable to come along and have fun.

I had advertised for four sales assistants and when Caroline from ECL contacted me to enquire whether I would consider employing someone with a learning disability, I was open to the idea as it fitted in well with our inclusive ethos. I did have some concerns about the level of support that the individual would need, but Caroline assured me that Ellen, the candidate she had in mind, would be capable of the job and that she would be on hand to give Ellen all the support she would need, for as long as needed.

Ellen sent me her CV and covering letter, I had over 200 applications, but I could see that Ellen had the relevant skills having previously worked in a café at ECL Greenacres. I invited Ellen to a Zoom interview and made reasonable adjustments by sending her the questions in advance. Ellen gave some exceptionally good answers in the interview, better than many of the other candidates, it was apparent that she was well prepared, and most importantly, she showed she really wanted the job.

Ellen now works for Geek Retreat four hours a week, she cleans, tidies the stock, and serves food and drink. Once comfortable with these duties we will introduce her to food preparation and using the till. Ellen has fitted into the Geek Retreat team very well; the other staff have commented that she makes their jobs much easier.

ECL has been there throughout the whole process, supporting Ellen at the training session, dur-ing her first shifts, and ensuring she is comfortable with her route to work.

It has been great to give Ellen the opportunity of employment, she is more than capable of do-ing the job and it’s reassuring to know that both and Ellen and myself have the back-up from ECL if needed, I would definitely recommend inclusive employment to other employers.”

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ECL and Essex County Council are collaborating on a new ground-breaking project helping adults with learning disabilities and autism to achieve aspirations of paid employment.

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