Group that helps young adults with learning difficulties find work celebrates its first anniversary

Christine Shaw handing over the cheque to the Switch Now Cafe.

Christine Shaw handing over the cheque to the Switch Now Cafe. - Credit: Archant

A community interest company that supports young adults with learning difficulties to achieve work placements has celebrated its first anniversary.

Switch Now, based in St Neots, works with young people to develop their employability skills by offering training and work experience and jobs as part of a collaboration with partner organisations and local companies.

Switch Now was set up last November by business partners Catherine Fairholm and Mark Hawking and in March this year, the Switch Now Cafe was opened at Loves Farm House.

“We work corroboratively with the local community and partner organisations to identify the opportunities for employment; aiming for inclusive places of work, with a mutual benefit to both employer and employee,” said Catherine.

“We make sure placements are meaningful and will help move people towards work.”

The Switch Now Cafe is staffed by young people who have been trained by Switch Now and although it is currently open for three days, Catherine hopes this will move to five days in the future.

“The cafe provides an excellent training facility, but it also helps to develop social skills. When we see people working in the cafe and gaining work placements, we know that this was absolutely the right thing to do.”

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Switch Now has just received a cheque for £1,114 from the John Lewis Cambridge’s Community Matters fund.

“We were very fortunate to receive a lovely share of the £3000 fund they split between three organisations through the green tokens system customers post in boxes near their Espresso Bar in store.

Christine Shaw, the community liaison coordinator for John Lewis, Cambridge visited the cafe last week to hand over the cheque.

Pic cap: Christine Shaw handing over the cheque to staff and co-workers of Switch Now at the Switch Cafe, Loves Farm