Active Inclusion Fund helping to tackle disability employment gap

The funding supports organisations that work with unemployed or
economically inactive people to improve their situations and help
them move closer to the employment market. This could be by
providing funded training opportunities, paid supported employment
placements or supporting people to improve their confidence and
motivation through practical activities. The activities and
placements delivered by these projects are not set out by the terms
of the grant scheme and it is up to the grant recipients to
determine what would best suit their participants. As such,
organisations that support individuals with learning and physical
disabilities are a good match for the funding.

Down's Syndrome Association

A number of different disability organisations: Down’s Syndrome
, Wales Council
for Deaf People
, Disability Can Do
and Leonard Cheshire, were
successful in securing funding from the Active Inclusion Fund. The
projects designed by these organisations will help lessen the
disability employment gap, which makes disabled people twice as
likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. Through breaking
down the barriers to the work place, volunteering and training and
supporting disabled people, these EU backed projects are helping
people to realise that individuals with disabilities are more than
just their condition.

Leonard Cheshire works for a society in which every person is
equally valued. They believe that disabled people should have the
freedom to live their lives the way they choose – with the
opportunity and support to live independently, to contribute
economically and to participate fully in society.

Helen* is 24 years old and has a learning disability. She lives
in assisted accommodation with another young disabled woman. For
Helen, life was very lonely before she met her project officer at
Leonard Cheshire and her only communication with others was via
online gaming chat rooms. Helen had tried other volunteer work but
had not stuck to anything due to various reasons such as support;
travel; boredom.

“I wanted to make more friends and become better at
speaking to new people. I wanted to be able to do new things with
new people and not be so bored all the time. I can get lonely and
sad sometimes. I can speak to my housemate but sometimes it’s not
enough and I can feel down.
“Before ‘Can Do’ I wasn’t doing anything. My social worker
had tried to find groups and so did the home I was in but I
couldn’t settle with anything. I didn’t really enjoy the sessions
as there wasn’t anyone my own age there.”

Helen was then referred to the ‘Can do’ project, which provides
meaningful volunteering opportunities, life skills and independent
living to people with disabilities. Little by little, through one
to one and group activities, Helen’s confidence grew: 

“I have developed a lot since being with ‘Can Do’. I feel
more confident and have made a CV; before I didn’t have anything to
put on it! I feel better about myself and feel that I have things
to talk about. ‘Can Do’ has given me opportunities that I didn’t
think I would ever do. I am proud of what I have

For Leonard Cheshire, their newly acquired Active Inclusion
funding will go towards enhancing the organisation’s current
provisions and services to support disabled people. The ‘Changing
Futures’ project will empower disabled people to overcome barriers
to employment, volunteering, and training opportunities. The
project will provide bespoke support to develop essential skills
and confidence through a series of interactive modules,
facilitating practical, ‘real world’ scenarios and paid work
placements to improve employability.

The next Active Inclusion Fund round will open in August. In
order to be invited to apply for project funding, you will first
need to be on the ‘approved beneficiary list’.  You have
to apply to be on this list by submitting an Eligibility
Questionnaire (EQ) and passing a number of quality checks.
Eligibility Questionnaire is a rolling process and can be submitted
at any time: however, please note the cut off date to be sure of a
chance of being invited to apply for the August round will be 1
July 2018.


*Helen is a pseudonym


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