Seafood business batters opposition to gain national recognition

From left to right, Latimer's workers Johannah Hutchinson, Gabrielle McCririck and Sophie Gray.
From left to right, Latimer's workers Johannah Hutchinson, Gabrielle McCririck and Sophie Gray.

A seafood eatery is reeling in recognition after proving it’s the plaice to be for employees who need support.

Latimer’s Seafood Deli and Cafe, in Whitburn, which is run by husband and wife team Robert and Ailsa Latimer. beat hundreds of other nominated businesses to be a finalist in the national Autism Awards.

Working at Latimer’s has really helped me develop

Sophie Gray

It was nominated by the Gray family, from Whitburn, in the most supportive employer category.

A member of the family – 18-year-old Sophie – has worked at Latimer’s for the last two years.

Sophie and her 13-year-old sister Chloe live with Asperger’s syndrome, which can make social interaction challenging on a daily basis.

Sophie said: “Working at Latimer’s has really helped me develop.

“Before I worked here, the thought of social interaction could be very daunting.

“My Asperger’s doesn’t define me. Ailsa has given me confidence and shown me I don’t have to hide the person I am – I need to embrace the positive aspects.”

Ailsa said: “Sophie has a particular aptitude for technology and she is also very creative so it’s been easy really to ensure she can focus on these aspects for our business. She still works front of house with customers but we are also aware that she can experience being socially overloaded and the trick is to vary her duties so that this doesn’t happen.

“As well as dealing with the public regularly she is also able to support our social media platforms and has been instrumental in developing our new mascot Claude the Crab of which she has created a polymer character.”