After being long term unemployed at the age of 28, Chris struggled to find work / volunteering opportunities that suited him. He loved to learn but unfortunately education through college etc. wasn’t a good experience for him. This never stopped him for going for what he wanted and was determined to find something to do and an opportunity to learn.
Now 30 years old, thanks to GISDA and their Training Centre Te a Cofi in Cernarfon, Chris found a new love for volunteering in the catering centre. He now has been volunteering over 2 years and has contributed an outstanding 3000 voluntary hours.
‘’I wanted to live more independently and find opportunities to learn. I didn’t enjoy college it was a bad experience for me but loved to learn new stuff. I needed the help to find the right opportunity that allowed to me to do something I enjoy, somewhere I could learn and had the right support that suited me. Eventually I found the café’’
‘’I’ve been volunteering in the café for over 2 years and I still love it. I just got my certificate for 3000 volunteering hours, this was an amazing day for me and it made me very happy. The café is like my happy place, I’m always happy when I’m here. I’ve stayed this long because I get to learn something new every day and I’ve always loved cooking too, which is what really made me interested in the project’’
‘’I come in every day Monday until Friday and work 10am-4pm. Every day there are different volunteers and I get to make a lot of new friends. This is one of my favourite things about volunteering in the café, I get to and have made a lot of new friends. I get along really well with the staff and feel like we’re superheroes. The food is amazing, and I love being a part of cooking it and learning new recipes this is what I enjoy doing the most – cooking the food and having a cheeky sample!’’
‘’I’ve received accredited qualifications through different training courses, that’s been done through the computer and through training days. The training I’ve been given is an important part of why I enjoy the café. I’m currently working on my Food and Safety Hygiene certificate’’
‘’The Café is so important to me and my daily routine. I honestly would be lost without the café and the support the staff provide for me, not just in the café but throughout GISDA. Change is hard for me so I’m very grateful that everyone has let me carry on for so long’’
Chris is now receiving extra support to further his career options with the possibility of receiving paid employment.
Te a Cofi received £50,000 of National Lottery funding through The People’s Millions competition on ITV Wales in 2013 to open an informal cafe in Caernarfon to provide young people with work experience, new skills, confidence and the motivation to lead successful independent lives.