Social Enterprise in Action

Action for Blind People is set to work with social enterprises throughout England to offer work experience placements to blind and partially sighted people looking for employment.

Thanks to funding by the National Lottery through Big Lottery Fund, Action for Blind People has developed a Social Enterprise and Employment Development (SEED) Project dedicated to finding work experience placements for blind and partially sighted people within social enterprises.

‘Host’ social enterprises will be offered a full package of support tailored to their needs, including advice on Health and Safety issues, access to specialist adapted equipment and Visual Awareness training. The majority of work placements will last between one day and two weeks and could provide a perfect lead-in ‘working interview’ for the DWP’s Future Jobs Fund six month placements.

The aim of the SEED project is to open the eyes of employers to the abilities of blind and partially sighted people within the workplace. 81% of employers rated the performance of disabled employees as ‘the same or higher’ than non disabled people. If this is the case then why is it estimated that 66% of blind and partially sighted people of working age in the UK remain unemployed. Through the SEED Project, with the support of social enterprises, blind and partially sighted people can develop the skills and confidence they need to progress into employment.

Yorkshire based social firm, Viewpoint employs a team of blind and partially sighted research assistants and has also offered work experience placements, in partnership with Action for Blind People.

Alistair Ponton, Managing Director of Viewpoint said: “The team we have recruited through Action have been enormously beneficial to Viewpoint. Their customer service and IT skills have pushed the boundaries of what services our business can offer and their attitude to helping Viewpoint succeed has reinvigorated our entire staff team.”

If you are interested in becoming a ‘Host’ organisation for the SEED Project or you would just like some more information, please contact the SEED team on 0113 386 2800.

  1. Alun Severn Reply

    Sounds an interesting project, Mark — I hope plenty of WM social enterprises come forward.

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