Turkey and Tinsel trippers raise cash for Down's syndrome employment program

(Last Updated On: February 25, 2020)

A hotel in Paignton has raised £1,472 for charity from the sale of raffle tickets during its ‘Turkey and Tinsel’ themed breaks.

The Marine Hotel offers up stays from mid-October to guests, when the hotel is fully decorated for Christmas. Each four-night break is a pretend Christmas, so on arrival the guests have mulled wine and mince pies and on the second night of their stay, they have a five-course Christmas dinner including a visit from Santa with a gift for everyone. Through each break, they run a raffle with all prizes donated by the guests.

This year the nominated charity to receive its proceeds was the Down’s Syndrome Association’s employment programme WorkFit. WorkFit brings together employers and jobseekers who have Down’s syndrome and is a tailored service dedicated to training employers about the learning profile of people who have Down’s syndrome so that they can be supported in the workplace.

The Marine Hotel employs Amy-Rose through the WorkFit programme.

“We decided to donate our raffle proceeds to WorkFit as we employed a young lady called Amy-Rose four years ago through the programme and the whole process was fantastic. Amy-Rose still works for us now, three breakfast shifts per week. We think it’s fantastic that an organisation is working to get people like Amy-Rose into proper paid positions.” Nicola Monkhouse, Hotel General Manager

Amy-Rose said: “I love going to work, I have new friends and feel like I have achieved a lot. I feel like a member of the team and I love getting paid.”

The money will go towards a crowdfunder which has been set up to keep the WorkFit programme running in the south of England.

It costs the Down’s Syndrome Association £64,000 per year to fund WorkFit in the south alone, with all monies coming from donations and grants.

“People with Down’s syndrome face invisible barriers when looking for work. These can include employer attitudes, a lack of support, an unclear pathway into work, and just a general lack of information. Many people with Down’s syndrome leave education with the skills and desire to work yet struggle to access employment. We don’t get any direct government funding for our WorkFit programme and we need to raise more funds to ensure the rest of this financial year is fully supported.” Becky Penrose, Community Fundraiser, South West.

Statistics show that nationally, just 5.9% of people with a learning disability are in paid employment. It’s a downward trend year-on year and confirmation that schemes like WorkFit are vital.

If the crowdfunder raises a quarter of its target (£3,750) by March 4, the charity will then become eligible to apply for match funding.

The crowdfunding page can be accessed here:

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