Since Imogen has started work-based training at ECL’s Saffron Walden Wellbeing Hub, her dad Gerard has noticed that her confidence has grown, and that she has gained independence in relation to everyday life. Imogen enjoys the range of opportunities available to her, including catering, carpentry and print work, and she was recently involved with event management organisation Enterprise East, where she was able to develop and practise her hospitality skills.
Here, Gerard explains: “When Imogen finished school education, we were quite apprehensive in terms of what she was going to do. It was very difficult because we thought that taking her out of that environment was going to be quite traumatic for her and for us. We always wanted to make sure she was in a safe environment.
“We thought that if we could get something that was work-based but also somewhere she would enjoy, that would be ideal. If she was at home we would say ‘don’t touch that Imogen’, ‘be careful of that’, but at ECL they give her that little bit of independence. I think that sometimes they’ll push her more than we would.
“Since Imogen has been coming to ECL, she’s picked up lots of skills, but she doesn’t look upon it as work. She’s broadened her outlook in terms of what she’s able to do. The social side of it is probably just as important as what you’re being taught, and she’s struck up friendships with quite a lot of people - in fact probably most people!
"Being at ECL has made her look forward to getting up in the mornings; going out, doing something. It has done her an enormous amount of good and we’re obviously very happy that she’s here!