Meet the young people with learning disabilities who have been helping to care for us as key workers during the pandemic

Young adults with learning disabilities in Hastings and Rother are playing a vital role as key workers during the coronavirus crisis.


They are part of the Little Gate Farm charity based in Beckley whose main goal is to support learning-disabled people into paid employment.

Little Gate has helped to increase the number of people with learning disabilities in paid employment from 5.9 per cent to 7.1 per cent in the last year in East Sussex.

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Mary Soul, from Little Gate, said: “Some of our work trainees with learning disabilities are working in the NHS as key-workers, and we are incredibly proud of them and what they have achieved. They never believed that they would find paid work, and now they are working to support their community at such a critical time.”

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Tony Palmer works at the Conquest Hospital for the ESHT and is a catering assistant. He works in the evenings in the kitchen. Assisting with the huge clean up of the hospitals plates, cutlery, trays, lids, cups, and setting up the trolleys for breakfast. He is an extremely kind man who is always looking out for others.

Jordan Linstead is a healthcare assistant at Southlands Place. He is a carer for the elderly. He assists with personal care, including showering, dressing and helping to feed residents. He is fully qualified after finishing his apprenticeship last year. Jordan is a hard worker and forms great bonds with the residents he cares for.

Steven Bulgin is an apprentice healthcare assistant at Southlands Place. He is working on the dementia wing of Southlands Place and assists with personal care.

Holly Tadman is not currently working as she is shielding, but has worked as a housekeeping assistant at the Conquest Hospital since 2018. She is very dedicated to her job and has enjoyed working in the Kipling Ward doing the cleaning. She was working throughout the pandemic up until mid-April when she was identified as vulnerable and is now self isolating. She is looking forward to getting back to work.

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Anthony Bailey, who is also shielding, does the same job as Tony in the kitchen. He is an extremely hard worker but due to living with vulnerable people he has had to shield for the time being.

He is missing work, as he absolutely loves his job and all the people there. He is looking forward to getting back and helping out the NHS.

Jodie Priestley only started her job right before lockdown, completing two weekend shifts, and due to living with vulnerable people she has now had to self-isolate.

Jodie is disappointed but is very much looking forward to getting back into work as soon as it is safe to do so. She is a very enthusiastic hard worker.

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