"We saw that at home, Amanda really loved being in the kitchen and being involved in cooking at every opportunity" says manager, Jon.
"We looked to see if we could find an activity in this area that was suitable. We supported her to apply for jobs and go for interviews, but when she was not successful she was getting down and felt like she'd never get a job."
"So we looked at a college course to help her get some training and a qualification. In September 2014 the college suggested a cookery course for students with a learning disability, which she tried. But she soon found that she was more advanced than others students, got bored and stopped going".
"We talked with the college and asked how we could work together to help Amanda try a mainstream Level 2 catering and hospitality course" explains Jon. "We said we could support Amanda initially for a few weeks to support the college and Amanda to make it a success. To help the college understand how they could best work with and support her, Amanda agreed to share her support plans and risk assessments with them".
"I was very happy about the Level 2 course, but also unsure if I could do it. But again, my support workers were brilliant and encouraged me to give it a go, and explained that this is how I could get the job I wanted to do."
"I know that now I am achieving something in my life", says Amanda, "and at the end of my course I will have some qualifications. I am learning new things and how to cook different dishes and experimenting with different foods. I use what I've learned all the time at home. I love making cakes and food for the other people I live with and also helping them to cook."
Being at college also means that Amanda's social circle has grown: "Other students are all really supportive of each other. We all have fun, but we all are professional when we are cooking" she explains.
"It has proved I can do things and I can have dreams and goals. Also I have something to get up for in the mornings. I know I will have good days and some not so good days, but overall I have a brighter future to look forward to."
Jon says: "There were times when the college wondered if they could make it work, and we knew it would not all be plain sailing, and that there will be more obstacles. But the college have been brilliant. They've always worked with us to find solutions. Amanda's long term aim is to do paid work in a kitchen and we keep this focus with her in her key-working meetings. Once she had been going for a while, if she was feeling down about going we were able to say 'You enjoy it so much, if you miss a day you'll lose your place'. She has never set a goal for herself before, so she's never had a purpose to drive her. She now has something that she is really proud of. That's something she's never had before. In her eyes she's never achieved anything. She said to me 'It's easy to give up. I have to try to find a way. At least I can say that I tried'."