Heather's New Beginnings31 Jul 2019
What's life if not for sharing? Yes, it’s unpleasant to consider, but we enter the world alone and inevitably will leave it alone, but sharing the journey with people along the way is what shapes our experiences and makes it all worthwhile. This is exactly why our valued ‘Shared Lives & Short Breaks’ service is a vital part of our organisation. But what exactly does it mean? Well, the dedicated shared lives carers enable the people we support to be included in their community in which they integrate, socialise and work – supporting them to live a valued life.
When a shared lives carer embarks on their journey with Cornerstone, they make the decision to support and include an individual in their family and social life, which, in many cases, leads to them becoming a permanent member of a family. The service provides both transitional and long-term placements to people who require care and support because of a disability or additional support needs. Our carers provide a safe, secure and stimulating family environment for the person to help them develop a sense of belonging within their home life and community.
‘Shared Lives & Short Breaks’ also provides employment support opportunities for the people that the service supports. This takes place through the New Beginnings Café, which is located in Irvine. The café is staffed entirely by Cornerstone colleagues and the people we support. First established by a few friends who were supported by ‘Shared Lives & Short Breaks’ who had a bit of a pipe dream, it now operates as a thriving café and is a pillar of the community.
One of the people supported by Cornerstone, Heather, has been working at the New Beginnings Café since it opened last December, and she has absolutely loved the experience. Previously, Heather had worked in a variety of hospitality roles but was never allowed much autonomy or opportunity to demonstrate her creative flair. However, this is not the case at New Beginnings. Heather is proudly responsible for the home-baking and coming up with different soups and specials. You could say that Heather has had a completely new beginning in her working life.
Heather has always thought that she comes across as quite a confident person and working at New Beginnings has amplified this. She notes that the café has given her confidence, and she gets “a brilliant feeling inside” from interacting with the customers.
New Beginnings has also given Heather the opportunity to give something back to her local community, noting that she enjoys being able to help and engage with the people who come in every day.
”I love nothing more than getting out of bed in the morning, knowing that I am going to help even one person that day. Whether that is serving them a delicious cake (that makes them gain five pounds), or sitting down with them for five minutes. It costs nothing to take the time to ask how somebody is and brighten up their day. These are some of the reasons I love my job.”
Heather loves that the café has its core regulars, as well as a lot of new faces who come to try the tasty treats after seeing the café advertised on Facebook, or in the local newspaper. She has even been given a new identity as ‘that girl from the café’, building a great rapport with faces old and new.
The New Beginnings Café is open every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10:00-14:30. Serving up some delicious breakfast and lunch items, pop in and sample some of Heather and the teams’ homemade baked goods. It can be found at the Salvation Army Church, 19 Townhead, Irvine.