Through partnerships between
local organisations people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and physical
disabilities in North Warwickshire are set to get greater work and training opportunities.
Mencap, in conjunction with charities Horticultural Therapy and Kaleidoscope, are with
the support of Warwickshire Social Services and Warwickshire Health Authority, launching
four pioneering training and employment initiatives this Friday (19 March).
Martin Gallagher, Director of Operations for Mencap, said:
"This is an exciting new venture for MENCAP, with three national charities coming
together for the first time to build a cross-community range of training and employment
activities for the benefit of all."
One of the initiatives is a supported employment project backed by Warwickshire Social
Services. Lorna Ferguson, of Social Services, said:
"This is a really exciting project and a huge boost for disabled people in North
Warwickshire. This will enable them to enter the employment market, perhaps for the first
time in their lives, and supported in this by a charity with a track record of success in
Atherstone-based TNT, Warwickshires biggest employer, employs local woman Gina
Harrison as part of their cleaning team under the scheme. Tina Hall, Specialist Project
Manager for TNT, said:
"TNT is delighted to support this very worthwhile scheme which has already
benefited our company. We are keen to increase our number of Pathways placements and have
been particularly impressed by the excellent back-up provided so far by Mencap."
Adrian Price, who has been supported into employment with Asda by the project said:
"I like working at Asda. My favourite job is on the pump truck. When the big
lorries come in we take crisps and other things from the big fork trucks where they are
The four initiatives are:
- A supported employment scheme called Pathways, run by MENCAP and backed by Warwickshire
Social Services and Warwickshire Health Authority. The scheme, which has been running on a
pilot basis, finds work opportunities for people with learning disabilities and supports
them and the employer until they are confident in their jobs.
- A European employment initiative, funded under the NOW programme (New Opportunities for
Women), helps women obtain work within the traditional male occupational areas. In North
Warwickshire the project in concentrating on organic horticulture.
- The development of a centre specialising in training in countryside management, organic
gardening and heritage building skills will create opportunities for employment. With the
assistance of the European project above, a social firm will also be developed. This
project is a joint venture between Horticultural Therapy and MENCAP.
- Mental Health charity Kaleidoscope, part of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship,
provides a range of Information Technology courses at its site in Nuneaton and is in the
process of opening a cyber café at the Tudor Centre in Atherstone. This will offer
training in information technology for local people.
The above organisations have agreed to work in partnership to develop a range of
exciting new community activities in the North Warwickshire area that should offer choice,
opportunity, equality and include people with disability into every community opportunity.