A Harrogate charity is helping a growing number of disabled people either remain in the workplace or gain employment through a little-known government initiative.
And the work being done by Disability Action Yorkshire in helping those with disabilities unlock Access to Work grant funding has won the praise of Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones.
Through the Access to Work scheme, individuals are able to apply for grants to help pay for practical support with their work, seek advice about managing their mental health at work, and receive money to pay for communication support at job interviews.
The Harrogate charity, which this year celebrates its 85th anniversary, is working with a growing number of organisations and individuals to assist them in applying for this grant. In addition, if accessed via the charity, Disability Action Yorkshire staff are there for backup should the person giving support to a disabled person go on holiday or be off sick.
One example of the Access to Work Scheme in action is Anne Adams who, despite failing eyesight, was able to keep her job at Citizens Advice (CA), thanks to a support grant which pays for Carolyn Blaxall, her Personal Assistant who she calls “my eyes”.
Jackie Snape, Disability Action Yorkshire’s chief executive, said: “Thanks to the Access to Work scheme, we are helping people with a variety of different disabilities either remain in their jobs or gain employment.
“Anne is one such example. Incredibly skilled at her job, her visual impairment meant that she was finding it increasingly difficult at work. However, thanks to the grant, has able to continue with her role at the CA with Carolyn.
“Another is one of our trustees who pays for admin support via the grant.
“In addition to CA, we are working with a number of different businesses around the Harrogate District to provide jobs for people with disabilities. In many instances a disability should not be barrier to employment, and with the right support, they can add real value to a business or organisation.
“And by going through us, we are also able to provide cover in terms of holidays and sickness. We are happy to talk to businesses and individuals keen to find out more about Access to Work, and when it comes to applying for a grant, completing the necessary paperwork.”
Andrew Jones MP said: “The Access to Work scheme is a key part of enabling those who can work or want to stay in jobs they love to do so, even when their personal circumstances change or might appear to prevent them from doing so.
“Disability Action Yorkshire are great advocates of supporting people with disabilities into the workplace. That is why I would advise employers, and those seeking interviews for whom support is also available, to take a good look at the scheme and to talk to DAY about taking forward an application.”