19th Dec 2011 - 00:00
Niche contract catering company, Wilson Vale, is giving a former homeless man a full-time job instead of buying clients and staff a Christmas gift this year.
Working hand-in-hand with the Birmingham-based charity, Business in the Community (via its programme, Business Action on Homelessness), Wilson Vale is employing Birmingham man Chris Leddington, who had to leave home at the age of 13. Until recently he had been homeless for six years. Now 35-year-old Leddington is due to start work for Wilson Vale on January 3 as a catering assistant at ATS Euromaster in Aston, Birmingham and at the international law firm, Wragge & Co in Colmore Row, where he will be mentored by Wilson Vale's chef manager Stuart Brown. Brown said: "Chris came to work with us on a two-week work placement in 2010 and we were very impressed with his ability to get on with the job and to use his initiative. "He will be a very welcome addition to our team. In his spare time, he works on a voluntary basis for The New Life Baptist Church in Kings Heath where he is a key holder, which shows the level of trust given to him. "Chris is a great guy who had a bad start in life but now his life is getting back on track and we will do whatever we can to support him." Leddington will work a 40-hour week across the two sites, going to ATS Euromaster in the mornings and will continue his day at Wragge & Co, which has supported the Business in the Community charity for the past 10 years. He will receive on- the-job training from Brown and other members of Wilson Vale's catering teams across the two sites. Commenting on his new job, he said: "This is the best Christmas present anyone could ask for. It is great to be treated like a normal person and to be accepted as part of a team. I am facing the New Year with renewed hope and I am determined to make it work." Wilson Vale currently holds 65 clients, mainly in business & industry and independent schools in the Midlands and the north of England.