To offer confidence and hope to young people with autism by providing employment and free training, enabling them to produce great products, such as our award-winning chocolates. In doing so, we aim to be a role model for “great product, great cause” for other businesses, individuals and entrepreneurs.
Members of our staff and work experience students
In order to carry out this social mission, we have identified a number of activities that help generate social value. These activities can be seen in "Solution" section above.
Our social impact framework which includes theory of change can be found here: Social Impact frame work.
Since the company inception in November 2012, we have a total number of 217 beneficiaries which mostly includes young people with autism. They contributed to the business in different ways. This includes making, packaging and selling chocolates for our online and corporate customers. Some of them were also involved in back office, design work and photography. In summary all of them learnt new skills resulting in increased confidence, hope, and aspirations for their future.
One of the key outcomes of the past two years is successfully creating an autism friendly work place. In such a workplace, people with autism can contribute to various tasks in order to create value for themselves and for Harry Specters.
Our social impact is directly linked to our growth which is why we chose to share our growth on this page. As a company policy, we have also chosen to be completely transparent for people interested to know more about our company.
Although our number of paid employees with autism has not increased in year 2015, it is clear that the amount paid to them has increased 7 times compared to year 2014. This was the strategy we adopted since beginning. Going forward, we aim to create more paid opportunities, ensuring that amount paid is increasing by a bigger proportion.
Free work experience is an integral part of our social mission. We do this by partnering with local special need institutions or group within the mainstream institution. We are also seeking improvement in the measurement of confidence and hope which means that we are improving the structure and delivery of our free work experience placement. We have decided to spend more time with individuals so that employability skills can be improved to a much higher degree.
We know the importance of involving parents/carers in the whole process of interacting with people with autism. This way we get to know people with autism better. But more importantly, parents and carers get insights into their work place behaviours (which are always positive). Overall the impact on parents/carers is positive which raises their hopes by interacting with us.
Our Facebook and twitter follower have increased consistently during the past years.
Our complete Social Impact Report for the year 2013-14 can be downloaded here.
Our complete Social Impact Report for the year 2015 can be downloaded here.
Design of Packaging for slabs by students of Granta Special Needs School in Linton. You can buy these slabs here
Cambridge News featured our work with students from Granta School, Linton:
Comments of Beneficiaries
Some comments from the young people we have supported and their families:
“When I come to work here, I feel like I’m in heaven”
“I just want to come here for all my work experience”
“Can I come here again as I love working here?”
Students from Granta School on work experience
“I have learned so much about chocolate while working here. Mona is very supportive and patient with me. I have become more confident since working here and would recommend that everyone with autism should come to Harry Specters for work experience”
Greg Hanchett, work experience student and later a part-time employee
“Just wanted to say a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ for all your help and kindness. Greg has really enjoyed the experience you have made possible and he has grown in confidence..”
Excerpt from a Thank you card from Greg’s parents
“I have never received £100 for any work before! Thank you so much.”
Charlie Bailey, an ex-part-time employee
“I get quite emotional thinking about the look on Ross’ face when he showed me the cheque you gave him for his work. It was not about the money, but the confidence and self-worth he was feeling..”
Mother of one of our contract workers
“When Mona called and said she had a job for me I was quite amazed as this was my first job. It was tiring but I enjoyed the work.”
Caroline Walsh, photographer for Harry Specters