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Darcy Redding had a difficult high school experience. He was bullied and felt unhappy and ‘judged about his autism’. Darcy describes his high school self as someone who was ‘very, very shy.’ He recalls, “I didn’t talk to anyone, I was going through stuff that was really, really tough for me.”

Four years ago he came to Bedford Port Lincoln and the support staff got to work helping him learn skills, feel valued, and build self-esteem. Darcy reports that “as soon as I started at Bedford I grew as a person more and more.”

He enthusiastically volunteered for a variety of jobs – from gardening to contract cleaning and working in the fisheries shed.

Darcy’s father, Bill Redding (pictured with Darcy below), says “since Darcy first came to Bedford he has grown immensely… he is full of confidence in everything, he just goes and does things now, with no worries.”

Such was Darcy’s self-confidence that he began working part-time in open employment at local Port Lincoln café ‘The Coffee Bean’. He juggled both jobs for several months, however when he was given the chance to increase his hours and work exclusively at The Coffee Bean, he took it. And by all accounts, he’s doing very well.

“My boss wants me to go out front and serve people coffees, and that will be a new experience for me with my autism - she trusts me a lot,” Darcy tells us, with well-earned pride.

While the team at Bedford Port Lincoln were sad to see him leave, they knew this was a fantastic opportunity for him to grow and, in his words, “put in place all the good things Bedford have taught me about team-work, work ethic, and chasing your dreams.”

The Port Lincoln team is so proud of how far Darcy has come, from an anxious lad who walked through the gate back in 2019 and wouldn’t speak to anyone, to the young man who rises to a challenge, can do multiple jobs, and has a fantastic ‘give anything a go’ attitude.

Darcy’s next big dream is to travel overseas, but for now, he’s focussed on mastering his work at the Coffee Bean. We wish him the very best for a BIG future achieving whatever he sets his mind to!

Darcy and his dad, Bill.