Oct 202008

To a very special charity performance of ‘Rain Man’ at the Apollo Theatre on Thursday evening, celebrating the launch of a new charity, Care Trade. This is the brainchild of my friend Katharine Doré, the theatre producer. Many years ago Katharine realised there was no appropriate educational provision for her autistic son, Toby. So she and a group of friends set up their own school, the Tree House. I visited it some years ago – it’s a beacon of what can be done in special needs education. Eleven years on, now Katharine has realised that despite the security and opportunity children with autism can achieve in school, the job market, like the education system, provides little or no hope. So now Katharine intends to wow, bully and then mobilise her impressive address book all over again, creating this new venture, effectively a certification mark of excellence for companies that help disenfranchised people such as those with autism, by helping them enter the job market and lead fulfilling professional lives. To prove it can be done, she’s even set up her own olive oil company. Eleven years ago, most people thought the Tree House would be an impossible venture. Katharine and her friends proved them wrong. Some people may find the idea of companies integrating people with autism into their recruitment a challenge too far. My money’s on Katharine. Oh and the play was brilliant, although it’s a bad idea to take your girlfriend to anything with Josh Hartnett in it, obviously.

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