Widnes Charities Partner to Support People with Learning Disabilities into Employment


DSC_0100Widnes-based Cathie Stankevitch Foundation has this week launched a partnership with Community Integrated Care, to offer people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and autism, volunteering opportunities – enhancing their work experience and employment skills.


The Cathie Stankevitch Foundation was founded by rugby league legend John Stankevitch in honour of his late mother. The foundation, which is soon become a registered charity, aims to make a significant social impact on the local community through delivering a host of charitable activities. It has recently launched a major campaign to encourage local people to donate unused and unwanted sports equipment and wear, which will be distributed to young people to help them participate in sporting activity.


Vocational Support Service is an award-winning specialist service that supports people with learning and physical disabilities, autism and mental health needs into employment. It is part of the Widnes-based national social care charity, Community Integrated Care. The service aims to match people who receive support with local businesses, helping to add to their workforce and give them valuable assistance with their business priorities. People who access Vocational Support are partnered with specialist Support Workers, who help enable them to deliver great assistance to the businesses they work with.


Super League winner, John Stankevitch, personally visited the two volunteers who he has taken on – Louise Lamkin and Coleen Farrell – to wish them well on their first day of work. The two volunteers, who were seeking work that could give them opportunities to travel and meet new people, are now responsible for visiting local businesses, pubs, restaurants and venues, to invite them to display fundraising tubs as well as overseeing the collection of them.


Vocational Support was Britain’s first AutIsm Accredited supported employment service. It is aiming to grow within Halton to provide more services to local people and partner with more businesses. Local people are invited to contact them via the charity’s website, www.c-i-c.co.uk.


Renata Davies, Vocational Support’s Service Manager, says: “The businesses who employ the people we support notice an increase in footfall, improved customer feedback and really value having a caring, hard-working and inclusive workforce. For the people we support, having meaningful and valued employment opportunities enables them to build their confidence, meet new people and gain new experiences.”


John Hughes, Head of Communications and Marketing, says: “I’m thrilled that the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation have come on board with Vocational Support. To have such a high profile figure in the local community as John Stankevitch support our aims is incredible, and we hope will inspire many others to follow suit. We are seeing more Widnes businesses, including Widnes Vikings, joining Vocational Support which helps build a stronger and more inclusive community.”


John Stankevitch, Founder of Cathie Stankevitch Foundation, says: “The help that Vocational Support provides the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation is vital as it means we can start to up-scale our work. As the sole employee in the Foundation, I was having trouble managing the distribution and administration of our collection tubs. The Vocational Support Workers have now taken on the majority of this work which has freed me up to focus on strategic priorities. This support has had a huge impact already and I hope the partnership with Community Integrated Care continues to grow.”


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