Prior's Court
Posted: 9th July 2018

Prior’s Court Foundation, a specialist centre for children and young people with severe autism, has been awarded a grant of £65,000 to fund the role of an Artisan Bakery Manager.

Prior’s Court Artisan Bakery Manager

Dylan Needham will be helping young people with severe autism develop their baking skills; improving their chances of finding work. Dylan will be based within a new purpose built bakery on-site at Prior’s Court’s Hermitage base.

Enhancing employability

Figures from the National Autistic Society show that only 16 per cent of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment with only 32 per cent in any kind of paid work. The young people at Prior’s Court are all profoundly affected by their autism, so employment will be even harder for them to come by. By offering the chance to learn vocational skills, this project has the potential to be life-changing.

Jenny and Reuben are some of the first young adults from Prior’s Court to access the bakery. Since being at Prior’s Court, Jenny has progressed hugely in terms of her life and vocational skills.  Jenny has been supported to manage her sensory sensitivities; she is now able to understand the world around her and to actively engage in her life and undertake work placements. The bakery will provide her with enhanced key skills, both for everyday life and for future work opportunities.

Jenny’s mother Anne said:

Jenny’s work placements mean so much to us as we never thought she would be able to have a job. Jenny is proud to wear her uniform and was very excited to see her bread come out of the oven.  We are so grateful to all the staff who have been so caring and patient with her.

Berkshire PGM visits Prior’s Court to see the bakers in action

Prior's Court

The Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, Anthony Howlett-Bolton, met the master baker and his students Reuben Baxter, Jenny Sutcliffe and Vicky Mercer at the new In-house bakery at Prior’s Court in Hermitage.

Dylan Needham, the newly appointed master baker said:

“The role appealed to me because it’s different; I wanted to get back into hands on baking, but I also wanted to work with people, so it was perfect. For me the most exciting bit is getting the young people involved, and that sense of achievement for them. It’s all about getting the young person into the workplace, smiling and enjoying the process, and making fantastic bread.”

Anthony Howlett-Bolton from Berkshire Freemasons said:

“I’m very pleased we can support this exciting and ground-breaking project. Getting Dylan on board clearly demonstrates the progress Prior’s Court is making and his work with these children could be life-changing.”