Egged onto job market by Langdon


Tucked away in a once overgrown garden of a quiet north Manchester street is a Jewish egg factory which the Chief Rabbi has hailed as an example of restoring dignity to young Jews with special needs.

Eight free range chickens roam around a large purpose-built wooden enclosure at the Prestwich base of Langdon Community, supporting independent living for people with learning disabilities. In six months, they have produced more than 1,000 eggs for young entrepreneurs Mark Nadler and Adam Patchick, who attracted £1.300 of capital investment from Langdon's own Dragons' Den challenge last year.

Businessmen donated the cash after being impressed with the venture, which is to expand to growing and selling fruit tree saplings in time for Tu B'Shvat next year.

Visiting Langdon on Sunday, Lord Sacks congratulated them on their Team business (Trees and Eggs from Adam and Mark).

Eggs are sold to local shops and a restaurant and the general public is also encouraged to buy.

Mr Nadler, 23, completed a vocational course in agriculture with his business partner at Langdon.

"I was really happy when we won the money," he said. "The business has been growing stronger and stronger. We have to date-stamp the eggs and learn all the rules of health and safety."

Engaged to another Langdon graduate, Mr Patchick, 24, was pleased to number his mother among his customers - she now uses Team eggs in her cakes. His father Jonathan said he could never have imagined Adam running his own business.

"Now that he's an entrepreneur, it keeps him totally enthused. I'm very proud as a father and it means a lot to Adam, also because Langdon has made him part of the Jewish community."

The tree venture grows from Langdon's horticulture project, involving 10 of its 70 students based in supported living projects in Manchester and Edgware. Some have secured employment with Greater Manchester's park authorities.

A huge polythene pop-up greenhouse at the back of Langdon's Manchester offices serves as a gardening class-room.

Students include Scott Bryant, 25, whose mother Lisa thanked Langdon for coming to her rescue after striving to raise her son as a lone parent. He had "totally changed" through gardening.

"He's got a feeling of achievement just watching his things grow. He's got something to get up for, just like anyone else who has to get up for work. It's unbelievable what Langdon has done. He's living in his own flat with Sky TV and an iPhone - all the normal things a young man would have. He's gone from needing 24-hour care to living independently."

The outdoor activities are the charity's response to the difficulty in finding businesses willing to offer its students employment opportunities.

A team of job experts manages to place 80 per cent in some kind of employment, but Langdon fundraising head Beverley Kaye pointed out: "There is a lot going on with the recession and cuts.

"What we need is for people to give an opportunity to someone to learn, work and experience being totally independent.

"Our guys, once up and running in a job, are more loyal and more respectful because they want to lead that normal life."

Lord Sacks praised Langdon as a working example of Jewish values. "We live in such a fast-paced, high-tech economy, we forget how uplifting raising chickens and growing plants can be.

"The first blessing we say in the morning as Jews is on the cockerel crowing. The most basic blessing is blessing the fruit of the earth.

"Langdon is a triumph of human dignity because in Jewish values, giving someone a livelihood is the highest form of charity."

The Chief Rabbi had spent Shabbat in north Manchester to join the tribute to Rev Gabriel Brodie's 60 years' service to the Great, New and Central Synagogue, better known as Stenecourt. A number of events were held in honour of the emeritus minister of the modern Orthodox community, who retired in August.

He also lauded efforts to rejuvenate Prestwich Hebrew Congregation through outreach organisations Seed and Aish in a Shabbat morning sermon. He attended the 60th anniversary celebrations of Higher Prestwich Hebrew Congregation on Sunday.

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