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person we support working (filing)

Everyone deserves the opportunity to work and contribute to the communities they live in. However, people living with a disability are more than twice as likely to be unemployed compared to non-disabled people. In fact, only 4.2 million people living with disabilities were employed in 2019; an increase from 2013 where there were only 2.9 million disabled people in employment (ONS). Despite this increase, there is still a significant number of people who with support, could join their ranks.  

Employment is an important aspect of living independently for many individuals living with a disability, providing an increased sense of balance, structure and self-worth. Whether it’s a paid job or volunteering, being able to go to work allows people to feel that that they are participating and contributing to society and for many offers an all-important opportunity to connect socially.

At Lifeways we believe that a disability should not change the way a person lives nor should it stop someone from living the life they wish and achieving their goals and ambitions. We encourage the people we support to lead a rich and fulfilling life as independently as possible.  Take a look at just a few of our residents who with support are working and volunteering in their local communities.

Paul, one of the people we support at Boughton, has a learning disability and has worked at Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre as a Maintenance Assistant for over 32 years. He shared how his independence has increased since securing his job. “Since I started working at Sherwood Forest my independence has improved a lot. I have learnt a lot of new skills and learnt to speak with different people which has also helped with my self-confidence. I feel more independent now because I know that when I wake up I’m not just spending the day at home doing nothing, I’m going to work and doing something. I would encourage other people to get a job because it gives you something to do and you learn new things; you become more responsible for yourself. For example, learning to get up on time for work, it all helps you to become more independent and you just feel happy and proud of yourself. I’m grateful to my support staff who helped me with my application and preparation for the interview.”

Regardless of the type of work you do, being able to complete a new task on your own or making your own decisions will leave you feeling empowered and more confident. Making the decision to get a job, apply for a job and even attending an interview are all ways in which confidence can be nurtured.

Lisa, one of the people we support was diagnosed with anxiety and Korsakoff syndrome. She volunteers at a local Cancer Research shop in Buxton and shares why she decided to get a job. “I made the decision to get a job because I wanted to build up my confidence. I spoke to my support team and they helped me to get an application form and fill it in.  Having a job has taught me a lot about myself and I feel very proud of myself. One of the most important things I’ve learnt is that despite my disability, I am still able to go to work and help out other people. This alone has increased my confidence a lot. I know there is more to me than my disability. I would recommend anyone looking to build up their confidence to try getting a job. You meet new people, learn new skills and uncover some abilities you didn’t even know you had.”

Kyle was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and a learning disability but has never let his diagnosis be an obstacle in achieving what he is passionate about. He volunteers at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where he delivers presentations in order to raise awareness on learning disabilities in the hospital environment and provides training to doctors and nurses. Kyle is passionate about raising awareness and addressing health inequalities faced by individuals with learning disabilities. He is a part of the Treat Me Well Campaign, which aims to create better experiences for people with disabilities.

As part of the campaign, Kyle was invited to the Houses of Parliament and spoke with MPs about making learning disability training a part of the mandatory training in all hospitals. Thanks to Kyle, this has now been achieved. Following this, Kyle was invited to the Learning Disabilities and Autism: Improving Care Conference in Manchester to discuss the Treat Me Well Campaign and the impact it has had on changing the Government and Healthcare Policy. 

Determined to inspire other people living with disabilities, Kyle is an advocate for patients and young people with learning disabilities who are scared, isolated and need someone to talk to. “My biggest aspiration in life is to make a positive impact in people’s lives. I have learnt that in life, people will always treat you how you treat them so I always treat people how I would like to be treated myself.”

Individuals living with a disability can thrive in many areas provided they are given the opportunities and appropriate support.

For many people with a disability, having a job goes much further than the individual feeling independent, more confident or having an increased sense of self-worth. It’s an opportunity to change perceptions, build awareness and raise expectations.  

If you are looking for employment or know someone living with a disability who is looking for employment, you can visit Scope or Disability Rights UK for advice.

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