Community initiative at the Grove Inn in Petworth

Steve Hawkins, instructor, with Peter Brombley.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C141589-2 SUS-150202-180745001
Steve Hawkins, instructor, with Peter Brombley.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C141589-2 SUS-150202-180745001

DINERS at the Grove Inn pub are in for a satisfying treat.

With every burger, steak or pie, customers will not only enjoy a tasty meal, but know they are helping someone gain valuable life skills. The newly-formed community interest company (CIC), 3C Empower, has been set up to assist adults 
with disabilities to gain experience and life skills.

Thanks to handy family connections, 3C Empower leader Paul Ivemey has been able to set up an exciting new partnership which will benefit the adults he helps, as well as members of the community.

From March, the group will take over the Grove Inn in Petworth from midday-3pm, under the leadership of Paul and his head chef, Steve.

Paul said: “We currently run workshops delivering life skills training to a group of adults with various levels of learning disabilities, such as cooking, budgeting and independent living skills. I have agreed with a local business in Petworth to take over and run the Grove Inn, staffed wholly with our learners as a social enterprise, giving them a valuable real-life experience in the employment world.

“My brother David is the landlord of the pub, and is helping with this initiative. We really want to show what these individuals are capable of.

“We intend to open every Monday from March 3, serving home-cooked meals prepared and served by a brigade made up totally by adults with learning disabilities.

“This will give us an opportunity to showcase the skills and value these individuals can offer their community, and with every meal purchased, people will be giving them a chance to develop their skills.

“Our qualified chef Steve suffered a brain injury after an accident, but was mentored by Jamie Oliver during his training. Since his accident, he has struggled to gain employment as a result of the lasting effects.”

Steve is a qualified chef with an NVQ 1, 2 and 3 in hotel catering as well as a City and Guilds qualification. Having been lucky enough to be mentored by Jamie Oliver, he now passes on his expertise to others in cooking workshops.

Paul said the aim of 3C Empower was to help people like Steve to demonstrate their skills in a practical way and to ‘encourage employers to look beyond his disability and instead give him a chance based on his ability.’

Alongside their weekly shift at the Grove Inn, the group will also learn basic maths skills, English, computer skills, art for therapy, the safe use of public transport, housekeeping and home management, how to live healthy lifestyles including diet, nutrition and healthy choices, cooking and awareness of kitchen and food hygiene, first aid and employment support.

With years of experience in the care industry, Paul is well qualified to help those in his charge.

“I have worked in the care and support industry for ten years.

“I decided now is the time to go it alone and share my passion for the empowerment of vulnerable adults and have set up this organisation to develop life skills and independent learning opportunities, primarily for adults with learning disabilities of a low to moderate level, that are seeking to improve their life skills with a view to becoming more independent within the community.

“This may include preparing to leave the supported environment and taking on their own tenancy, or just developing their daily living skills to take more control of their lives and open up the choices available to them.

“Our vision is to work with vulnerable adults to improve and empower themselves by providing resources and training workshops to enable them to develop life skills to help them become an independent and valued member of their community.”

And there’s even more incentive to go and support the group – anyone who dines at the pub on Monday lunchtimes from March 3 will pay £5.95 for two courses, and receive a 20 per cent off voucher to redeem on their next visit.

For further details contact Paul Ivemey on 0784609 1698 or email

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