Despite extensive research and huge global efforts to raise awareness, there’s still a certain lack of education around autism – a lifelong disability that affects more than 700,000 adults here in the UK. 700,000 adults who, although deal with umbrella labelling of autism every day, suffer from the disability on varying ends of the spectrum. But in spite of the challenges the community still faces, there are, thankfully, an array of superheroes helping to spread the facts about autism – including North Yorkshire business Park House Barns.
A chocolatiers based in Gilling East, North York Moors, Park House Barns has dedicated its business to providing employment opportunities to those with autism and other learning disabilities, providing a variety of roles that suit each individual’s requirements.
From crafting, decorating and packaging chocolate, to working in horticulture and in customer service, the chocolatiers’ budding team of trainees are involved in all aspects of the business – giving them a true opportunity to gain vital employment skills.
So, how does it work? Offering a whopping 160 placement sessions each month in their chocolate studio and horticulture centre (some of which work towards a qualification), Park House Barns provides opportunities via work experience schemes, helping to improve trainees’ personal, social and emotional development, and in turn, their employability.
If that wasn’t all, more than half of the chocolatiers’ permanent employees are on the autistic spectrum, too, meaning the enterprise is not only dedicated to helping to train people, but employing them afterwards, too.
While their chocolates are available to purchase online, guests are also able to visit the wholesome chocolate studio, where you’ll find the team hard at work hand-crafting beautiful artisan chocolates in a variety of colours and shapes.
Think beautiful sculptures of farm animals made of chocolate, painted truffles in delicate shapes, and stunning bars of chocolate sprinkled with delicious flavourings and toppings.
The fruit, vegetables and herbs used within the chocolate recipes are grown on the chocolatiers’ own horticultural site – which is lovingly tended to by one of Park House Barns’ longest-running trainees (now a permanent employee) – which also supplies a variety of local businesses with its surplus stock.
Park House Barns welcomes applications from those looking for training and employment all year round, in partnership with Autism Plus, and you can find out more here.
[Featured image: Park House Barns]