Reflections from Food4Thought: Building Bridges for Supported Employment 

2nd May 2024
Written by Harriet Smith

Harriet Smith with a member of the 'Food 4 Thought' dinner team.

HRS Communications recently had the privilege of attending and sponsoring Food4Thought, an event hosted by the Aldingbourne Trust. In this blog, we share our reflections on the evening, which left us feeling inspired to help build bridges for supported employment. 

Did you know that people living with learning disabilities or autism have just a 5.1% chance of gaining full-time, paid employment. Despite this shocking statistic, there are organisations out there trying to change this narrative, including the Aldingbourne Trust.  

Food4Thought was more than just a dinner; it was a celebration of diversity, inclusion, and employment potential of every individual. The highlight of the evening, of course, was the delicious three-course meal prepared by a team of talented chefs and front-of-house staff, many of whom live with learning disabilities and autism. Each dish was a testament to their skill, creativity, and dedication to their craft. But more than that, it was a reminder of the importance of providing opportunities for individuals of all abilities to pursue their passions and realise their full potential. 

Our Founder, Harriet, reflects on her experience at Food4Thought, sharing several key learnings: 

  1. The Power of Collaboration: Food4Thought brought together a diverse array of individuals, businesses, and organisations united in their commitment to supporting individuals with learning disabilities and autism in finding employment. It was a powerful reminder of the collective impact we can have when we work together towards a common goal. 
  1. The Importance of Empowerment: By providing opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities to train and work as chefs and front-of-house staff, Food4Thought empowered them to showcase their talents and contribute to their communities in meaningful ways. It underscored the importance of creating inclusive environments where everyone can thrive. 
  1. The Value of Perspective: Attending Food4Thought expanded my understanding of what is possible when we embrace diversity and celebrate the unique strengths of every individual. It reminded me of the importance of approaching life with an open mind and a willingness to learn from others. 
  1. Creating Opportunities: The event enabled me to network with a soon-to-be dietitian who was part of the programme. We discussed ways in which we could collaborate through HRS Communications, and it highlighted the importance of creating opportunities in the dietetic profession for those with additional needs.  

In conclusion, Food4Thought was a truly transformative experience that left a lasting impression on me. It reinforced my belief in the power of community, the importance of inclusion, and the inherent dignity and worth of every individual. I am deeply grateful to have been a part of this inspiring event, and I look forward to continuing to support the vital work of the Aldingbourne Trust in the months and years to come. 

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