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Work heats up for Can Do Catering employees


3 December 2018

For immediate release

Work heats up for employees with disabilities at Can Do Catering

With the run-up to Christmas, this is the busiest week of the year for a unique catering enterprise in Christchurch.

Can Do Catering is a social enterprise business, employing people with disabilities.

Ron and Tommy have been working at Can Do since it launched in early 2015.

“I actually came up with the name,” Ron says. “We can do! We can do anything.”

He says it was scary going into the unknown at the beginning, but business came in “leaps and bounds”.

“Now we’ve got 250 clients.”

He is saving money for a trip to Australia next year.

“This job’s good, we get the same pay as other people.”

Tommy is Can Do’s all-round helper. He can work alongside most of the other employees doing cold food preparation, and does dishes when they come back from events.

But his main gig is going out on delivery runs with the driver in Can Do’s van, where he gets to meet the clients.

“It’s a really good job. We enjoy it.”

Manager Vicky Harris says she has been amazed by the stories Can Do employees have shared about their work.

“The stories had me in tears, I didn’t realise the impact that we had made.”

She says work gives people a sense of purpose, and the employees have gained skills as well.

“When we first started, buttering a piece of bread was quite difficult for some employees,” Vicky says. “There’s quite a few people who can now work independently.”

Ron’s goal is to cook banoffee pie from start to finish using his own recipe.

Each of the employees has different strengths, Vicky says.

“Mike, who has just started with us, he’s an absolute whiz. In actual fact he’s sort of put us on the back foot because we’ve got to have a lot more food prepared for him.

“Wendy, she’s our blissball queen. She can go into the kitchen now and make blissballs from whoa to go, so that’s a real achievement.”

Helen Lapin, a seating and wheelchair therapist at Canterbury DHB’s Adult Community Therapy Service, is one of Can Do’s clients.

“We recently had the pleasure of using Can Do Catering to provide morning teas for a week-long wheelchair and seating course held at Burwood Hospital,” she says.

“What a surprise we had each day as Can Do Catering delivered the morning teas!

“We had scones, savouries, homemade biscuits, hot food, meat platter, and never two days the same.

“As a DHB service working daily with people with disabilities, it was a pleasure to be able to support Can Do Catering and to be working with such a professional team.


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