Sara Gill (right) from Stanley’s Training Project, pictured here at Surestart Childrens Centre, Dewsbury Moor & Scout Hill, with Joanne Habergham, Gemma Murphy-Sanderson and Amy Manton. Thank you to the Huddersfield Examiner for the image.
Sara Gill’s commitment to people with learning disabilities is phenomenal.
In 2012 she founded Stanley’s Training Project to help people with learning disabilities – and has been funding most it herself by working up to five nights a week as a nurse in nursing homes.
The main aim of Stanley’s Training Project is to provide people with the skills and confidence to work independently and give them real life work experience and a level 2 or 3 qualification in food hygiene.
Sara, 44, of Cleckheaton, set the project up when she realised there was a real need for something like this.
She was nominated by Alex Beardsley, of Cleckheaton, who said: “The people who come to Sara are often withdrawn, lack the confidence to communicate and have had no prior work experience. Through the sessions Sara does with them the students get the opportunity to work in a real life kitchen setting; purchasing, preparing and serving food to the local community and also community groups.”
The project is funded with limited funds from Kirklees Community Partnerships but the budget doesn’t cover Sara and her time so to keep the project going Sara works nights as a nurse.
From its humble beginnings working with people with learning disabilities the project now operates out of three venues across Kirklees – Dewsbury Moor Sure Start, The Church of the Nazarene, Dewsbury and 23a Westgate, Cleckheaton.
Sara and the Stanley’s team of students provide a café service at Dewsbury Moor Sure Start Centre on a Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtime. All the food made and served is bought, prepared and served by the people with learning disabilities that are on the programme.
Alex added: “Sara is providing these individuals with key life skills as well as the potential of gaining qualifications that could lead to employment. This is something that I don’t see many other organisations doing today. Giving people the tools to help themselves is a fantastic gift and Sara does this spectacularly.”
A year ago Sara saw that there was an opportunity to put the Training Café to better use. With the rise in dementia sufferers and the huge gap in local services and support for sufferers and their carers, Sara started a Friday Activity Café for people with dementia or learning disabilities and their carers. The café runs from 10.30am-2.30pm every Friday at The Church of the Nazarene in Dewsbury and also includes entertainment such as music, bingo and crafts.
Alex added: “I have never known another project that does so much on so little and Sara makes all of this happen, bridging gaps in communities, bringing people together and offering people the chance to do something and be a part of society.”
Sara does even more community work such as helping Moorcroft Community Gardens and provides low cost buffets for community projects.