WHETHER helping customers, organising clothes racks or tidying up, Jayne Duckworth works with a smile on her face.
That’s because Sainsbury’s worker Jayne, who has Down’s Syndrome, has always wanted a job – and has made the most of her opportunities to be a friendly face for customers.
This year, Down’s Syndrome Week (March 19-25) is celebrating all the different ways people with Down’s Syndrome make a difference to their communities.
And after working at Sainsbury’s Denton for 19 years, Jayne is sharing her story to show how the support she’s received has helped her blossom and become well-known to customers.
Jayne was helped by Tameside Council’s Routes to Work service, which supports people with disabilities to gain employment and achieve employment goals, helping with volunteering, training and education.
The service met Jayne 22 years ago when she attended Hillside Day Centre for people with disabilities.
Jayne had always made it clear that she wanted a job and was found a voluntary position in the café at Sainsbury’s where her duties included clearing tables and helping wash pots.
She received one-to-one coaching from Routes to Work and soon built up excellent working relationships with customers and colleagues. Jayne loved the job and was offered a paid position of ten hours a week.
Last year, after retraining from Routes to Work with the support of Sainsbury’s staff, she moved to the clothing department where she enjoys helping customers and keeping an eye on the latest fashions.
Jayne, who turns 48 on Sunday (March 25), is originally from Denton but now lives in supported housing in Stalybridge.
Her family, which includes two sisters and a brother, have a strong work ethic and Jayne was inspired by seeing her dad Fred heading off to work.
“It runs in the family,” she said. “It’s amazing to have a job. I look forward to coming to work and getting out of the house. It’s great and keeps me busy. I like earning money and it gives me independence. It’s important to me and my family.
“Routes to Work have been amazing and my colleagues and customers are brilliant. I’ve had lots of help from people at Sainsbury’s and I’m happy working here. I like to tell people I have a job and that I’m busy and have been at work all day.”
Fred added: “Routes to Work is a very good scheme. Jayne loves working at Sainsbury’s and she has opened up quite a lot since she started work.”
Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “Routes to work is a great scheme helping people secure and sustain employment and supporting their independence.
“It’s a testament to Sainsbury’s and their staff that Jayne has remained in employment as long as she has. Sainsbury’s is inclusive with who they employ and it shows that with the right support people can sustain employment.”
Routes to Work also supports people with drug and alcohol issues, mental health conditions and brain injuries. For more information or help, call 0161 342 5200.