National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign held in October that raises awareness about employment issues for disabled people and celebrates the many and varied contributions of workers with disabilities.
We are proud to support people within Surrey having difficulty finding work due to disability, with our Surrey Supported Employment Fund which was established in 2012.
We ask Chair of the Fund, Roshan Bailey, why there is a need for a fund like this.
What is the Surrey Supported Employment Fund?
It can be difficult for disabled people to get into work, so the Surrey Supported Employment Fund helps individuals to overcome barriers in their journey towards the workplace.
Can you give some examples?
Alice* experiences depression and anxiety and her previous work was no longer suitable. A £499 grant funded a Level 2 General Gymnastics Award providing a springboard into a new career. As well as training gymnasts, her coaching skills have led to a job in the NHS writing and running courses to help other people with mental health issues. “The impact on my life is so great it astounds me”, says Alice.
Paul*, a young man with learning disabilities, had obtained an excellent work placement, but he had to be at work by 5.30am and the buses did not run early enough. Our £80 grant to buy a bicycle solved the problem and he worked diligently to develop his experience, skills and confidence, progressing successfully into paid work.
Tom* needed to qualify to drive 7.5 tonne lorries, but he could not access the course without assistance because he is profoundly deaf. £1,000 funded an interpreter so he successfully completed the course and got his new career on the road.
*Names have been changed
Are there any rules about what you can fund?
We fund items directly related to overcoming specific barriers to work, for example; accreditation fees, specific work-related training, support while gaining experience through voluntary work, interview costs, work equipment or clothing, travel costs in the first few weeks at work.
How big are your grants?
Most grants are up to about £300, but sometimes we can make a huge impact with a grant of under £100, and in exceptional circumstances we consider larger awards. We also provide helpful feedback to candidates, often signposting them to other organisations who can help them succeed either in conjunction with or instead of a grant.
Who can apply for your grants?
We help people with physical, sensory, cognitive and/or learning disabilities, or mental health issues. We may also help carers supporting disabled people.
Do you need any help?
Spread the word please! We have money to give away and would like to increase the number of grants we give. We would dearly love to be sure that everyone who needs us knows about us, so your help in sharing information about the Surrey Supported Employment Fund will be greatly appreciated.
We are proud to support local people in challenging circumstances access employment opportunities with the Surrey Supported Employment Fund. Last financial year, the Fund awarded £5,327.29 in grants to 14 individuals across Surrey.
To find out more about the Surrey Supported Employment Fund, please visit the webpage here.