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Pancake day is flipping good fun for young chefs in Wokingham

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Customers from Optalis' Supported Employment Service (SES) turned the community café into a pancake pantry for the day serving homemade pancakes with delicious fillings such as banoffee and chocolate to visitors and the Mayor of Wokingham, Cllr John Kaiser.

Supported Employment customers served over 30 hungry guests on the day and were able to gain valuable catering and customer service skills.

Donna Morgans, Optalis' Supported Employment Service Manager, said: "Today has been all about building customers' confidence. They were able to prepare and cook food in a professional kitchen and deal with the kind of pressures that arise in a working environment such as conflicting priorities and the need to be flexible. One of our Ace@Optalis graduates has now achieved paid employment in a café thanks to this kind of experience."

Mayor of Wokingham, Cllr John Kaiser, added: "My traditional pancake was very nice and it was lovely to see so many of the local community coming along to support the chefs. This is the second supported employment event I have been to here and it was nice to meet some old friends."

The Supported Employment Service is designed to support customers to achieve paid employment and work towards gaining independence in their role. Optalis Employment Coaches work closely with the individuals to ensure they are able to gain experience and skills in their chosen career goals.

Amy Jones, who had started with the SES team today as an Employment Coach said, "As first days go, it has got to be the best. Everyone in the team has been incredibly friendly and welcoming. It was great to be surrounded by, and part of, such great teamwork, and to top it off, there were Pancakes! I can't wait to get stuck in some more with everything SES has to offer."

There was lots of positive feedback from the customers who made the pancakes. Laura said, "For the first time I was able to write orders out. I felt very happy because we were kept busy all day" and Naeem said, "I learnt how important team work is and that I like to be busy. It made me feel good about myself.  It was good experience and good for my CV."

Optalis is dedicated to its community and strives to ensure its customers, and the organisation, are at the heart of it. Events such as the Pancake Pantry helps to bring communities together and encourages individuals to positively contribute to society.

For more information about Optalis' Supported Employment Service, or if you are a local employer in the Wokingham, Reading or Bracknell area wanting to access a determined workforce, contact Donna on 0118 977 8632 or email donna.morgans@optalis.org

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