Éanna had been out of work for a while before starting out with Community Catering in 2017. He quickly progressed onto a Tús initiative programme. This scheme, managed by Galway City Partnership, supports the development and delivery of services to improve community wellbeing and gives people a valuable route to gaining or updating their experience of the workplace. After completing the required 12 months on the Tús scheme, Éanna went on to a Community Employment (CE) programme. At Community Catering, Éanna had the chance to progress newly learned skills that were essential to working in a professional kitchen environment. He completed training in food safety, manual handling, fire safety, and first aid.
Éanna describes joining new work environments as a little bit scary at first but said he felt supported by the lead workers and volunteers he worked alongside in Community Catering. Working through the restrictions of the pandemic made Éanna appreciate being back in the habit of going to work and seeing his colleagues every day, and just how crucial their service must have been to more isolated people in the community.
“While restrictions made our workplace challenging, I realised the huge benefit of having a daily structure, which helped my own well-being in addition to understanding more deeply how meaningful the impact of our service was for older people cocooning,”
Éanna’s passion for technology and experience in web development, database administration, software development, and systems management meant he was a great asset to project leaders of Meals4Health social enterprise. Éanna helped at the start-up stage of developing the transactional website. (www.meals4health.ie)
“Working for a social enterprise affords you the opportunity to take on multiple roles and responsibilities, you’re not boxed into a specific title and task list, you’re free to explore your strengths and figure out where you’re best suited.”
Éanna has also attended several courses through local and national social enterprise bodies supporting him to continue his IT training and build on his skills. These skills have given him the opportunity to work with professional chefs and nutritionists on a nutrition software programme, which he said exposed him “to a new world of nutrition and food science, which I am thoroughly enjoying”. Éanna said one of his favourite things about the job was the variety and experience offered by introducing new approaches to grow and scale the service.
“I feel extremely PROUD when I see the impact on the people who avail of our meals services and the feedback we receive from families. I have experienced first-hand the benefit of good nutrition and how it has impacted my own health and the lives of numerous people I know”
Éanna also values the social connections. “We show interest in one another; each other’s passions and hobbies and cultural backgrounds,” he said. “Even though it’s a busy work environment there is always time to listen, learn and appreciate the knowledge and views of others without judgment.”“There is always something new happening in community catering,” Éanna continued, “we celebrate everything, sporting events, economics, nature, but most of all, people …. we celebrate life!”