The Taylor Report, published last week, sets out that “all work in the UK economy should be fair and decent with realistic scope for development and fulfilment” – hot on the heels of last month’s National Learning Disability Week which focused on raising awareness of the benefits of employing people with a learning disability.
Meanwhile Mencap, which organised NLD Week, claims that less than 6 per cent of people with a learning disability are in paid employment, despite many more wanting to, and being able to work.
But two sisters who live at a supported living service for people with learning disabilities in Snodland are celebrating working in paid employment.
Emma and Kirsty Dougan have jobs at Tuck by Truck in Aylesford, and at Spadeworks in Offham. The pair live at Hedera House run by care provider Regard.
Tuck by Truck provides self-service snack trays for the workplace and Spadeworks produces garden centre plants, and fruit and vegetables that served in the café and sold in the farm shop.
Emma, 31, works four days a week at Tuck by Truck – going out on delivery rounds one day a week and spends the rest of her time at the onsite packing unit.
Kirsty, 29, has a job which involves digging, planting, woodwork and working in the charity’s canteen.
“Emma and Kirsty love going out to work each day,” Asha Wells, who leads the team at Hedera House. “They enjoy being part of the cut and thrust of a vibrant working environment.
“Interacting with people helps build their confidence and gives them independence and something to look forward to each day.
“They love being part of the community and making relationships and earning a wage means they can save up for things they want to buy.
“When we go into Maidstone we often bump into Emma and Kirsty’s work colleagues which gives them a lovely sense of community.
“Sadly, people with a learning disability are far less likely to have a job than the general population and we are delighted the pair have this wonderful opportunity.”
Tuck by Truck is run by MCCH that supports people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs across London and the South-East.
Spadework is a charity that provides life skills training and work experience for over 90 people with learning disabilities.
Hedera House is a supported living service for nine adults with a learning disability with round the clock support. Each individual is supported to live as independently as possible in all areas of their life.
The service is run by the Regard Group, the UK’s fourth largest private organisation which provides supported living and residential services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injury, caring for more than 1,100 people, with a dedicated staff of over 2,200 people working at 150 locations throughout the UK.