We are a social enterprise charity. Our vision is for people with learning disabilities to be valued in the workplace, to reach their full potential and feel included as members of society.
Founder & Chairman Rosa Monckton, whose younger daughter, Domenica, has Down’s Syndrome, set up the registered charity to help young adults with learning disabilities find and retain meaningful employment.
There are 1.5 million people with learning disabilities in the UK and almost 94% are unemployed. Far too many are missing out on the basic right to aspire to a career, along with the wider social networks, better emotional and physical health, and increased independence that comes from having a job. They share the same aspirations as everyone else and they want nothing more than the opportunity to demonstrate their full potential.
Domenica was Princess Diana’s last godchild, and Rosa passionately promotes the late Princess’s belief that “everybody needs to be valued and everyone has the potential to give something back”.
At Team Domenica, we strongly believe that young adults with learning disabilities have the right to work, to lead fulfilling and purposeful lives, to have their individual gifts and talents recognised, and to feel included as valued members of society.
Based in central Brighton and launched by the actress Julie Walters in September 2016, we operate through a unique three-tier set-up of Training Centre, Training Café (Café Domenica) and Employment Centre. Through this we provide employment programmes to young adults with a wide range of ability, referred to as our ‘candidates’ to more accurately reflect and emphasise their role as people ready for employment.
We have already achieved an impressive 33% employment rate, more than five times higher than the national employment statistic (6%) for people with learning disabilities.
In time, we plan to open other centres along the South Coast, London and then nationally. We believe that we are at the forefront of a movement that will lead to real change in the lives of people with learning disabilities and the way they are perceived by employers and society as a whole.
Together, our mission is to help people with learning disabilities discover their career potential, to create employment opportunities and to remove barriers to work in local communities.
Team Domenica provides a range of employment programmes, with progression to supported internships, and wherever possible on to paid employment. Working in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College, local employers, activity providers and charities, we are delivering an essential education, training and support service within the Brighton & Hove community.
The Training Centre
Our Training Centre provides a bespoke and supported employment scheme for young adults with learning disabilities. Each candidate will complete a Learning, Employment and Progression Diploma in affiliation with Brighton Metropolitan College.
Candidates cover core units such as Communicating Effectively with Customers, Food and Hygiene Safety and Creating a Tailored CV. Bespoke units include Crossing Roads for Pedestrians and Using Money for Shopping. These units are delivered alongside in-house work placements at Café Domenica and Free World Kitchen.
The in-house work placements provide a perfect opportunity for candidates to learn new skills in a real work environment. They also allow candidates to build their confidence in a safe work environment, where making mistakes is seen as a valuable part of the learning process. This part of the work programme is underpinned by the systematic instruction process.
The candidates then progress to supported external work placements with a wide range of local employers. We encourage candidates to step out of their comfort zone, experience a variety of opportunities and explore which roles would be best suited to them in the future. Our aim is that candidates will then be offered a longer work placement with a view to permanent employment.
A unique aspect of our work programme is the opportunity for candidates to continue developing their communication skills, social skills and self-confidence through a fun and stimulating enrichment programme. The largely team-based activities facilitate collaborative problem solving, flexible thinking and resilience, all essential skills needed to manage in a complex work environment.
We are currently working in partnership with Carousel, Red Zebra and Brighton & Hove Table Tennis Club. Afternoon sessions include creative digital media, drumming, table tennis with Grace Eyre, karaoke and more recently yoga and wellbeing at Brighton & Hove Natural Health Centre.
Our work with local charities not only brings in outside expertise but builds candidates’ wider networks within the community, opening doors to social events such as The Blue Camel Club, Rockhouse, Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies.
Our candidates’ voice is at the heart of everything we do. We actively promote
self-advocacy and independence at every opportunity. This year, we have formed a ‘TD Steering Committee’ which enables candidates to have a greater say in the everyday workings of the charity.
Our holistic employment programme not only aims to prepare candidates for the workplace, but also develops their capacity to lead happy fulfilled lives by discovering new talents, making new friends and creating connections to the wider community.
Our Training Café is open to the public and enables our candidates to practice their professional and social skills.
Contact the Cafe
The café is staffed by our candidates where they are taught catering skills, front-of-house and general work skills, to assist preparation for work. We invite local businesses in on a monthly basis so that they can see for themselves what our candidates are capable of doing and what benefits they could bring to their businesses.
Team Domenica’s Employment Centre aims to establish relationships with local companies to procure suitable employment opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities.
We provide companies with guidance and advice on employing young people with learning disabilities. We engage with CEOs, heads of CSR and heads of HR departments to facilitate the provision of appropriate working conditions for young adults with learning disabilities.
We are working closely with local companies who support employing people with learning disabilities.
Our organisation was set up in 2016 by Rosa Monckton MBE, whose youngest daughter has Down’s syndrome. Domenica was Princess Diana’s last godchild, and we subscribe to the late Princess’s belief that “everybody needs to be valued and everyone has the potential to give something back”.
Team Domenica’s mission is to help people with learning disabilities discover their career potential, to create employment opportunities and to remove barriers to work in local communities.
We support young adults aged 19+ years who have a range of learning disabilities including Down’s syndrome; ASC autism; chromosomal disorders; speech/language difficulties, referred to as our ‘candidates’ to more accurately reflect and emphasise their role as people ready for employment.
We know that these marginalised young adults want to work, that they share the same aspirations as everyone else, and that they want nothing more than the opportunity to demonstrate their full potential. Yet there are 1.5 million people with learning disabilities in the UK and almost 94% are unemployed.
The area we serve ranks in the top 20% of the most deprived in the UK, with 88% of learning disabled adults unemployed (Adult Social Care Statistics, NHS, 2015-16). Despite a clear evidence of demand in the local community, there are simply not enough opportunities of work experience available and, crucially, no other organisations are offering dedicated pre-employment training and high levels of bespoke and ongoing support.
Spending on adult social care in England has fallen by £4.6 billion in five years with 825 learning disabled adults, registered with the local authority, having little option but to stay at home. Without employment, they not only lack self-confidence, but can also become more vulnerable to mental health problems than the general population.
We are pioneering a new approach that leads to real change in the lives of people with learning disabilities and the way they are perceived by employers and society as a whole.
“This kind of scheme, rolled out further and wider, is what success might look like.” Baroness Bertin
“Please do check this out – @TeamDomenica does such brilliant work with people with learning disabilities in #Brighton (and their cakes are wonderful too 🙂” MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas
“Amazing charities like @TeamDomenica make a tremendous contribution to society” Secretary of State, Matt Hancock
Our aspirational model is to help even more people with learning disabilities. In time, we plan to open other Centres along the South Coast, London and then nationally. Our vision is for people with learning disabilities to be valued in the workplace, to reach their full potential and feel included as members of society.
Based in central Brighton, we operate through a unique three-tier set-up of Training Centre, Training Café (Café Domenica) and Employment Centre. Through this, we provide a range of new and innovative employment programmes.
Supported Employment Programme (SEP)– A structured study and training programme where each candidate has a Training Mentor to develop their work plan. Educational units compliment in-house work placements at Café Domenica. Candidates also access enrichment activities to develop their communication, social skills and confidence. They progress to supported external work experience from a choice of 25+ local employers.
Supported Internships Programme (SIP) – Our Employment Centre establishes relationships with local companies to provide 6-month internships. Placements are supported by a Job Coach and combined with ongoing education and training from their Training Mentor, with the intention to secure paid employment.
Wrap Around Programme (WAP)– Ongoing support for candidates and employers as they transition into paid work. Candidates and employers report back to Training Mentors who help with ongoing training needs.
We have a very strong track record. In our first year, we achieved a 20%+ employment rate, more than three times higher than the national statistic (6%) for people with learning disabilities. Now operating at a 38% employment rate, an outstanding 1 in 3 success rate, against just 1 in 17 in the UK. We have placed a number of candidates into paid work and have secured many local employer partnerships, including the Co-op, Bill’s, Lloyds, Brighton Pier and The Grand hotel.
We thrive to achieve the following outcomes:
- Outcome 1. Young adults with learning disabilities will have improved workplace knowledge and skills.
- Outcome 2. More job opportunities will be available to young adults with learning disabilities.
- Outcome 3. Employers will feel better informed about offering jobs to people with learning disabilities.
- Outcome 4. Young adults with learning disabilities will have increased confidence and self-esteem.
- Outcome 5. Young adults with learning disabilities will be less isolated.