Dream comes true for Corby teenager with cerebral palsy as he gets job opportunity

Jordan wanted to be given the chance to work

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 12:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 12:10 pm

A Corby teenager who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy has had his dream come true after being given the chance of a intern role at a town centre venue.

Jordan Hutchison had been stuck at home after his college course finished and wanted a job but, because of his conditions, he had found it tough, with lockdown having an adverse effect on his mental health.

But thanks to the owners of ViRAL Entertainment - a gaming centre and virtual reality entertainment centre - Jordan, 18, has been given a chance to gain work experience and re-gain his confidence.

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Lynnette and Garry Ballantyne with Jordan Hutchinson
Lynnette and Garry Ballantyne with Jordan Hutchinson

After popping into the Corporation Street shop, Jordan and his nan got chatting to owners Lynnette and Garry Ballantyne, an encounter that led to him asking for work experience.

Garry said: "They were walking past and came in. We knew of Jordan because he went to Corby Business Academy with our children.

"He came back on his own and asked if there was anything he could do for work experience."

Lynnette said: "We had been looking to take on a volunteer before lockdown hit. We had been planning to help a lad with autism and as we reopened Jordan came in. We're looking to help them both - we will help where we can."

All smiles - Jordan has been working as part of the team

At first Jordan came in for one day a week with mentoring from the couple's 16-year-old daughter Aimee. Now working two shifts he helps the team sanitising equipment, stocking the bar and café, and working the till.

Jordan said: "I already knew their kids from school and it was easier for me because they already knew me. They know what I can and can't do and they take their time to talk and listen. They understand me and I can communicate with them. They have taken the time to get to know me."

The Hutchinson family hit the headlines in 2019 when BBC TV's DIY SOS Big Build team blitzed their family home to transform it for Jordan. Due to the Covid pandemic the show has not yet aired.

Parents Jackie and Colin had been increasingly concerned for Jordan's mental health during the pandemic and in its aftermath.

Behind the till

Mum Jackie said: "Covid hit and it was a nightmare. His mental health was really low. He had been going to college but it was disrupted. We were struggling - it was a bad time.

"It's so frustrating for him. He's desperate to lead a 'normal' teenage life and having this job has helped do that. It's absolutely amazing. It's given him a purpose and it's nice to see him smiling again."

Jordan describes his disability as being 'trapped inside a body that his mind is too clever for'. As well as his role at ViRAL Entertainment, he likes playing pool and snooker and spending time with his best friend - his nan.

High achiever Jordan, who passed all of his GCSEs, said: "I am really enjoying it. I can get out of the house now. I have got a really nice house but if you don't get out you will get bored."

The transformed house - Jackie, Jordan and Colin

ViRAL founder Garry said: "He likes a laugh and he definitely gives service with a smile.

"He's done an amazing job wiping down the face shields for inside our headsets - this is one of the most important jobs here at ViRAL, continuing to make sure our customers are safe.

"He knows his limits and will let us know if he can't do something. He's not left on his own."

With the work experience on his CV Jordan is hoping to get a paid job in Corby and would like to be given a chance. There are hopes that the volunteer post might lead to paid work with a potential sponsor coming forward to help with his wage.

He said: "I would love a job even for just one day a week."

Mum Jackie added: "I'm so proud that Jordan went out and got the job himself. Nobody gave him a chance before. I just can't thank them enough for giving him the opportunity."

The house had been a shell