A 29-year-old who battles long-term mental illness has landed his first ever job at a cafe in Abertridwr.
Sean Snaiham now works at the not-for-profit Oasis Coffee Shop on Thomas Street after being supported by the Abertridwr-based Ty Bryn Bach service for four years.
The service supports people with a range of mental health issues and learning difficulties.
Sean, who started the job in June, said: “It’s lovely working at the café. I’m getting used to the routine.
“I am enjoying getting more responsibility every day, and I enjoy working with the other volunteers.”
The cafe is run by members of the Abertridwr Community Church and local volunteers
Emily Williams, assistant manager at the cafe, said: “Sean has been very loyal and consistent since he started working with us.
“He is always very happy and polite towards all of the staff and never fails to put a smile on our faces with his sarcastic humour.
“He is very driven while working and makes sure all the jobs he completes are done to the best of his ability, we admire this very much about him. He always gives things a go and is always eager to help where he can.
“He is always a pleasure to work with; he can stay for as long as he likes.”
Ty Bryn Bach service manager Tina Fishburn, said she and her staff were “so proud” of Sean’s progress.
She said: “Sean has always been a generous, kind and outgoing character – he just needed encouragement and support to reach his full potential.
The Ty Bryn Bach service is part of Cwmbran-based Expanding Horizons, which provides personalised support to adults with complex needs across south-east Wales.
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Terry Evans, of Expanding Horizons, has worked closely with Sean for the last 18 months.
He said: “Getting this job really was a huge step and a dream come true for Sean.
“On one of our trips into town I noticed a sign in the café asking for volunteers. I wasted no time in asking Sean, and the management teams of both the café and Expanding Horizons.
“Before we knew it Sean was warmly welcomed into the team and started his training, which included food safety training.”
He added: “Sean started at the Oasis Coffee Shop with two days a week for three hours. He has progressed so much that he has been invited to work an extra day. Sean is now up to nine hours a week and is participating in taking orders, washing and drying the dishes and taking money with assistance.
“After the shift has ended, Sean and the other volunteers sit down for a breakfast and chat, which is amazing to see.”
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