Funding boost to help disabled workers

Published: 22 May 2012


Northern Counties College student Helen Binns, student Keir Thompson, Metrocentre’s Sarah Butterfield and Gavin Prior, NCC support worker Alice Poole with student Kirsty Weir.

WORK supporting disabled people find employment is set to continue after a charity received nearly £300,000 in funding.

The Percy Hedley Foundation, one of the region’s leading disability organisations, has secured funding for a two-year employability project to help increase the numbers of disabled people entering the world of work.

The funding package of £280,000 from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Grant will help the project continue to support young people and adults.

The project will continue its innovative work with the local employers, linking them to disabled people who wish to develop their employability skills through undertaking work placements and accessing employment.

David Barker, director of adult services and business development at Percy Hedley Foundation, said: “This project is vitally important in promoting work as a real option for disabled people.

“Employers will have the chance to develop heir confidence in working with and employing people, it’s a great opportunity for all and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Big Lottery.”

Over the last six years, the foundation has built up a network of more than 300 employers who are willing and eager to get involved.

The new funding will enable the project team to further develop opportunities through targeted recruitment campaigns.

Among the employers who have signed up to the project is the Metrocentre.

Operations manager Gavin Prior said: “We are delighted with the news. It is a prime example of how the Big Lottery is investing in local projects that make a difference.

“The work of the Employability Project deserves to be recognised but more importantly this also ensures that they can continue with their important role in helping to give disabled people opportunities that would not normally be available to them.

“Metrocentre has already fully embraced the concept of the project and we are currently involved in a number of employability activities that will increase awareness of disability in the workplace.

“Well done to everyone involved.”

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