One of Disability Action’s newest projects, Job Match, supports people with disabilities to find and stay in paid work. There are nine Supported Employment Officers (SEOs) who cover different areas across Northern Ireland. SEO Maria Annett has been working with a number of participants in an exciting new project at Kilcreggan Urban Farm in Carrickfergus.

The Dancing Goat café has recently opened on the grounds of Kilcreggan Urban Farm. Kilcreggan Urban Farm and Garden Centre works with adults and young people with a learning disability, providing a valuable community open farm selling top quality horticulture plants and products.  As Job Match’s Supported Employment Officer for the area, I currently support 3 participants who are in a training program at the café. If successful in completing the training program, participants will then move into paid employment at the café.

There is an experienced team already employed at The Dancing Goat. Anna, the manager has many, many years experience of working in the catering and hospitality industry. Nigel and Chloe also have experience in catering and hospitality and in supportive roles for people with learning disabilities. These roles are vital to ensure the participants receive the best support whilst on shift and learning new skills.

To date my 3 participants , Chris, Kerry & Robert have completed Barista training and COSHH training. They all received certificates for this training which is great for their CV’s and personal development. Currently participants are working through a Health and Safety certificate which they learn and complete whilst on shift.

Job Match participant, Chris Campbell has been at the Dancing Goat since June, “I look forward to going into the café each week. The staff are great and I am learning new skills”.  Chris hopes to continue to develop by working in the food preparation area in the future and serving coffee.

Kerry Wilson has been on the Job Match project since June. “I was nervous before I started working here but I get great support and learn new things and now I really enjoy working in the café.” Kerry had previous retail experience but has developed her skills further from joining the Dancing Goat team. Kerry works out front of café serving customers and general cleaning of café after each customer leaves.

Pauline Brady who is the Kilcreggan Homes Ltd Assistant Manager has said that “the involvement of the talented and diverse group of trainees at the dancing goat café have undoubtedly contributed to the businesses’ success.  Feedback from the public proves that barriers and ideas about the ability of disabled people in our community are being challenged and changed.”

If you would like to know about The Dancing Goat, Kilcreggan Urban Farm or the Job Match project, click on the links below for more information.

Maria Annett
Job Match Supported Employment Officer