Holy Smoke

While other charities virtue-signal, here’s one that transforms lives: Team Domenica

19 min listen

In This Episode

Ask yourself: who are the most vulnerable and marginalised people in British society? My answer would be young adults suffering from learning disabilities, who attract sympathy when they are children but, once they enter their 20s, simply drop off the map of public consciousness The consequences of this are dreadful: 95 per cent of them are unemployed.

But four years ago that situation began to change, when Rosa Monckton founded Team Domenica, named after her daughter, now aged 25, who has Down’s syndrome. Domenica was the last godchild of Diana Princess of Wales, who was a close friend of Rosa’s. The two women mixed in the same exclusive social circles: Rosa was the Chief Executive of Tiffany, no less, and I remember first meeting her there at an impossibly smart party in their Bond Street store at some point in the 1990s. (To say that I was a fish out of water is putting it mildly.)

Years later I watched her shepherding learning-disabled young people across the streets of Brighton in foul weather before organising games of ping-pong in a cheerless church hall. But this was just a small part of her big project: to found a charity that places these young adults in paid employment.

That was a massive challenge at the time, and even more now – because the cafés founded by Team Domenica and the internships they managed to secure for their trainees disappeared during the Covid lockdown. So now Rosa and her team have a new mountain to climb, because even after limited re-opening the charity’s income is down by 50 per cent.

Please listen to my Holy Smoke interview with Rosa, who is married to The Spectator’s brilliant former editor Dominic Lawson. You won’t forget it in a hurry – though she wisely declines to comment on my opinion that there’s a huge and shameful gulf between Team Domenica and charities like it and virtue-signalling pressure groups that specialise in spending taxpayers’ money and generally being fashionable.

And, please, donate to Team Domenica here.


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