As well as providing volunteer work opportunities for young adults with lifelong neurological conditions, The Sunshine Kitchen also offers students the chance to gain valuable practical experience associated with their studies.
Layla Cooke is currently on work placement at The Sunshine Kitchen and works with our Friday team every week. Layla is studying for the HNC Additional Support Needs at Fife College, therefore having a placement which makes it possible to work in a supporting role with young adults who have ASN is a valuable experience, allowing her to fulfil her course requirements. We caught up with Layla to ask her how her placement is going and how it has helped her.

What were your first impressions when you came to work at The Sunshine Kitchen?
When I first came to work at The Sunshine Kitchen, I saw straight away that it was a lovely environment to be in. Everyone was very welcoming and inclusive, and I can tell that there is a lot of care goes into what happens within the environment.

 What skills do you think you have developed through your work placement?
I think through my placement I have developed more of an understanding of each individual, what works best for them and putting into practice different approaches I have been taught at college. I have learned that no session is ever the same and to be flexible to the needs of the young people within the group.

Has working at The Sunshine Kitchen helped you to make decisions about what direction you would like to go in with your studies or future employment?
Yes! Working at The Sunshine Kitchen has given me more of an insight into hopefully what my future will look like! I have always been certain that a career working with additional support needs was the route I would go down, but this has confirmed to me that this is where my passion lies.

Why do you think this has been a successful placement for you on a personal level?
I think The Sunshine Kitchen has been an amazing placement for me. Personally, I think I have gained more skills, and have also gained connections with each individual. There are still some things that push me out of my comfort zone too, which is always a bonus! 

What are some of your favourite moments working with the team?
The team are brilliant!! Every week we always have a great laugh together. The room is full of smiles and jokes whilst getting work done! We have a great balance of fun and teamwork. I enjoy working with different members of the team weekly, however I also enjoy being able to sit and talk to them during break and getting to know them individually. These individuals have taught me so much. 

Director and Project Manager, Gayle Nelson, had this to say about Layla’s placement:
‘Providing a work placement for Layla has been a wonderful experience for the team. They benefit so much from the support and friendship of young people close to their own age, and so having Layla step into this role has really benefitted them all. Layla is a kind and caring person who naturally makes all of our young people feel comfortable and supported, and both they and our staff have all welcomed her wholeheartedly into the Friday sessions. We are delighted to be able to contribute to making her studies a success and believe she has a bright future ahead of her’




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Registered Charity: SC048338