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Reflecting on 2022

2022 has been quite the year for Little Gate Supported Employment.

We started off the year by celebrating our first 100 work placements secured for our work trainees. Followed by the amazing Suzanna Coates raising £1,015 by fundraising for her walk of the final quarter of Lands End. We then celebrated National Apprenticeship week by sharing some of our trainees’ successes within their apprenticeships.

In February we launched our brand-new LEAPS course, a 15-week course designed to prepare young people for the next steps in their employment journey.

In March, we released our charity film, designed to give an overview of what Little Gate’s aims are and what we do to achieve those aims. Some of the amazing team at Little Gate ran the Hastings Half Marathon and raised just under £1,000!

In April we celebrated Autism Awareness week by sharing some of our trainees’ inspiring success stories, sharing how autism affects people, and celebrating the work that we do at Little Gate to break down the barriers preventing people with autism from realising their dreams and aspirations.

Over Easter, we welcomed 10 new beautiful lambs to the farm. We have loved caring for them and watching them grow throughout the year. The amazing Sound Waves Choir held a Night at the Opera, raising a staggering £1,900 for Little Gate!

In June, we held our Summer Fair, which was a glorious day filled with sunshine, live music, entertainment, beautiful stalls, and lots of raffle prizes. We raised an incredible £2,493.20. To top June off, Little Gate won the Benefact Movement for Good Awards!

In July, we opened our new Tool Shed on behalf of Wooden Spoon. Our staff then completed another round of TSI training which has allowed our staff to effectively support trainees to reach their full potential. We then teamed up with The Hastings Project who have kindly produced a delicious bitter, with all profits from sales being donated to Little Gate. We also held a Thank You Day, to celebrate, and thank, all our lovely supporters, funders, and volunteers.

In September, we launched our Supported Internship Pilot Project, working with four students from Glyne Gap Faculty. We then celebrated International Week of Happiness at Work and heard from some of our staff about what makes them happy at work. The team got together for a staff team day at The Darvell Community where we focused on Little Gate’s purpose and values.

In October we held our Employer Thank You Evening where we celebrated the partnerships we have made with some incredible, inclusive employers. We heard from our trainees about the impact of having paid work and employers shared how employing adults with learning disabilities enriches each of their workforces.  Our CEO, Andrea, spoke at the first Inclusive Employment Seminar for Businesses, discussing how to break down the barriers to become a more inclusive workplace.

In November, we celebrated Trustee Week by highlighting the brilliant work, knowledge, and wisdom, that our trustees provide at Little Gate. Our Young Rangers were visited by the crew from Blue Peter to film a very special film for the Blue Peter Children in Need Special! The young rangers had a brilliant day, and the film did a really good job at showcasing the brilliant activities, learning, and support that are provided through our young rangers program. We then saw another film premiere with the release of our Job Coach film! The film gives an insight into the varied and rewarding role of being a Job Coach at Little Gate.

Some of our team attended the BASE conference and had the opportunity to celebrate, connect and join the dots to further strengthen the voice of our supported employment community. At the end of November, we held our Christmas Fair, a fabulous day filled with live music and carol singing, beautiful stalls, food trucks, mulled wine a special appearance from Father Christmas, and some incredible prizes won. We raised an incredible £3,400!

At the start of December, Little Gate took part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, where we raised an amazing £7,040 in just one week, which will go towards funding our much-needed new minibus.

Between all the brilliant happenings at Little Gate, our trainees have continued to learn, grow, and develop, while securing work experience and paid work. We ended the year with a total of 118 paid work placements having been secured for our trainees, in a variety of sectors.

We can’t wait to see what 2023 brings for Little Gate Supported Employment!