JULIA Hawkins and Katelyn Edwards, who are both involved in national learning disability charity Hft’s Project SEARCH employability programme, had a right royal knees-up earlier in May when they were invited to the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace as part of the King’s Coronation celebrations.
Julia, the Supported Employment Manager for Hft Flintshire, was put forward for the honour by Head of Care and Support (North), Jordan Smith, for the work she had done on the over 25s employability programme.
Katelyn, who is supported by Hft’s employability coaches, was selected to attend by the team Julia manages due to her hard work and commitment to her job.
“Katelyn came through to the supported employment team and was supported by one of our employability coaches, Kelly Higgins, to job search, secure employment and receive in-work support via Kelly.”
“When Julia asked if I would like to go to the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace with her, I was so excited as I have never been to London before and never seen the palace.
“On the day I wore a blue trouser suit with a white top underneath. I matched it with white shoes and a fascinator in my hair. I was very excited and a bit nervous at the idea of meeting or seeing some of the royal family.
“Luckily, the weather was sunny and there were lots of people in the gardens chatting. It was a happy atmosphere.
“While I was there I spoke with the Queen Consort. Thank goodness I remembered to curtsey! She was really lovely to talk to and I was able to tell her about my job and what sort of things I did. I told her about how I am helped in my job by my job coach from Hft and she told me ‘to keep up the good work’.
“I saw the King in the distance but didn’t get a chance to talk to him. I had the best day ever and my favourite parts were talking to the Queen Consort, seeing a brass band playing and seeing Buckingham Palace.”
“It was an amazing day and we were honoured to be able to attend and experience the garden party. We met some inspirational people who work for other charities and do some great work too. It was a privilege to meet the Queen Consort; she was keen to know about Hft and the support we provide, and was impressed by our supported employment services.”