“I first heard about Working World from a parent of a client. Dominic started there after leaving school and he was attending college part time as well. I spoke to another mum and she passed on the telephone number and I rang Helen (Hurdman).
Dominic and I visited one day and then he went for a taster day. I was quite happy for him to start after meeting Helen and after we had gone through some background information questions, but it was a good idea for him to go on a taster day so that Helen could know more about Dominic and get to know his personality and he would know that this was the right place for him. Everything was fine on the taster day so we went ahead.
The staff at Working World all are lovely. I know them all by sight but not necessarily by name as they work different days and times, so I don’t have much interaction with them all. They are all really helpful; I have no worries about the staff there. Whenever I go to a function or for another reason they are all very pleasant.
Dominic doesn’t really tell me a lot; he’s quite quiet and doesn’t easily offer up information. I do know that his favourite activity is cooking and especially enjoys working in the cafe and cooking away from the site for clients. Another favourite activity is the shopping. Sometimes they all go together as a group, at other times he will be sent to the shop on his own if they need something quickly. I think he enjoys being trusted with such jobs and likes having a purpose to his day.
He doesn’t enjoy the ironing and the cleaning activities as much, but he will do some. Helen always tries to mix and match the activities so that everyone there gets to a bit of everything.
Most of the time Dominic will just get on with the activity he is assigned. On one occasion he didn’t want to do a task and Helen was fine, she just said to him “Ok, that’s fine, you can do something else”. She was pleased that he had been open and confident enough to express his wishes to her. It takes Dominic a little while to be able and comfortable enough to speak out, so we didn’t mind at all that he wanted to do something else that day.
Progress with Dominic is slow at first as he needs time to feel comfortable in a new environment and find his feet; he’s not an outgoing person. He is quiet, very self-contained and he lacks confidence. Helen has seen him develop in his time at Working World; she says he is much more talkative and chatty with his peer group and with the staff. She sends us a regular report. Development can be slow whilst he adjusts; he needs to speak up more but you cannot force him to be someone he’s not. Generally and gradually he has increased in confidence. He loves the social side of Working World – going on holiday or going along to a social event in the evening. He is comfortable with this group of friends. He’s a natural follower rather than a leader, so he will often sit on the sidelines in a group, but this has definitely been good for him. He is getting to be a little more grown up.
I find the level of reporting of progress about right for me. I know he’s happy, I know a little about what he does day to day and that’s enough for me. I wouldn’t want to give Helen the trouble to take more time doing reports and feedback. I can talk to Helen at any time, I can always get the information and I know that should I have a problem I can talk to her at any time and I don’t have to wait.
I would rate Working World as 10 out of 10, they are fab. I would highly recommend them as an organisation - although I am sure there are ways they could improve - it’s such a good group. I don’t know of anything else that’s available locally, and I think they deserve a lot of support. “
Susanne Mattocks (mother of Dominic O’Connor), May 2015