A prom, a gym and lots of ideas in the pipeline from the new manager of the Facet centre in March
- Credit: Archant
The first red carpet summer prom and an outdoor gym for the public are just two pioneering plans in the pipeline by the new manager of a centre for adults with learning difficulties in March.
Kris Harrold, who went from model to financial adviser to manager at Facet in Marwick Road, describes the centre as one of the happiest places a person could wish to work.
Since starting his new role he is determined to raise the centre profile and publicise the work of the 137 students who go there.
Kris said: “A lot of these students will not have been in mainstream education and had the chance to enjoy a prom so this is a first for Facet.
“We want to make it an amazing night with red carpet treatment. We are also working on getting funding of £43,000 from the Sported Project, a spin-off from the Olympics, to fund an outdoor gym that able bodied and disabled people can use at weekends and evenings.
“We also want to let people know about the garden centre here that the public can visit every day. It’s is a great place that a lot of people don’t seem to know about.”
The 33 year old began life as a model before moving into the financial world where he worked his way up to deal with the gold customers at Abbey National - people whose bank balances tip the million pound mark.
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However, a rare brain tumour more than 10 years ago stopped life as he knew it, forcing him to take time out for a relentless series of radiotherapy, operations and ultimately a career re-think.
He said: “I moved back with my parents so they could care for me. Some days the pain was so intense I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was ill for about five years. Eventually I got to a point where I wanted to work again but couldn’t drive. The only option was the local post office, pub or a home for young offenders, so I went and knocked on their door and was given a job straight away.”
He then joined an agency and was offered work at an autistic centre near Oakham which prompted him to attend an autism awareness open day.
There he met the founder of a pioneering new residential home called Living With Autism at Peterborough which he helped launch in 2012.
The downside, however, was a shift pattern, so when the Facet role came up Mr Harrold jumped at the chance.
“Working here is the happiest place in the world,” he said. “I want to raise the profile and bring in new ideas as well as let people know about the great things already going on here.”
• The Facet garden centre is open Monday to Friday from 9 to 4 and on Saturdays from 9 to noon for a range of plants and garden furniture.