Brendan is sociable, a passionate and committed volunteer (he volunteered with Vinnies for 20 years!) and a lover of good coffee. Brendan, who has an intellectual disability, attends Avenue Newcastle – a day program alternative empowering people with disability through microbusiness, regardless of their support needs. He takes us through his typical day.
“Every morning, before I start work, I do a lap of the coworking space to say hello to everyone. On Monday I ask about how their weekends have been.”
Depending on the day, Brendan works in Avenue’s Order Fulfilment team, packing up and sending out orders for Avenue’s business partners, holds a stall at a community market, or helps out on Avenue’s reception desk.
“I enjoy the different, varied options I get here. Not every day is the same. I don’t really want to sit around doing the same thing, and at Avenue you’re busy, doing different things.”
Today, on reception, the phones are busy! Brendan passes on messages, or transfers callers to the right person.
Brendan looks forward to a morning tea break with the team for the coffee to work its magic!
Avenue has a wealth of learning resources to support skill development, and Brendan ensures they are properly organised. He finds Avenue helps him build skills to achieve his life goals. For example, on Fridays he holds a stall at a community market with the Markets team.
“People have different skills. Some want to do stocktake, some might be good at sales, some might be good at sorting things. We all chip in and help each other where we can, and learn new skills.
“I’d love to live by myself when the time comes. So I can get my independence and freedom and I don’t have to rely on mum and dad so much. The money side of [the markets], working out how much everything costs, might help me work out groceries. They’re transferable skills.”
Everyone comes together to socialise over lunch.
“Everyone’s really friendly and welcoming; if I need help there’s always someone to ask. Even when I’m having a bad day, people might come up and say, ‘do you want to talk or do you just want some time by yourself?’ It’s a really nice working environment.”
A group arrives for a tour: a young person leaving school, his family and his support coordinator. Brendan introduces the different Avenue microbusinesses and shows off the teams in action, so the potential participant can decide if Avenue seems like a good option for him.
Today’s been hard work, but a lot of fun. It’s time to head home, relax and recharge to do it all again tomorrow!