Social care provider Surrey Choices held a celebratory awards event for businesses and its customers involved in its EmployAbility service this week.
The ‘Making a Difference Awards’ event, which was held at the picturesque Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, had a great turnout with over 200 people attending.
Surrey Choices EmployAbility is a service that helps to find work placements, training, volunteer opportunities and paid work for people who have autism or a learning, physical or sensory disability.
Penelope Fell, Managing Director of Surrey Choices, explained more:
“The Surrey Choices EmployAbility team works hard to forge effective partnerships with local businesses so we can offer a wide range of employment opportunities to our customers.
We wanted to take the opportunity to recognise the workplace achievements of our customers, and pay tribute to the commitment and enthusiasm of local employers of all sizes that have helped us improve the lives of Surrey Choices customers.
“The support we receive from so many organisations across Surrey and beyond enables our customers get the best opportunities and aspire to succeed in all areas of life.”
Over the last year 900 people have been supported to help them find or keep their job. A number of those individuals were recognised on the evening with ‘Outstanding Achievement’ awards, whilst a number of high profile businesses including H&M, Scope, Argos and Channel 4 were presented with ‘Making a Difference’ awards.
One Surrey Choices customer, Lewis-Barlow-Hyde, aspired to work within the media but he never believed he would realise his dreams due to barriers he felt he had to overcome. Lewis, who has Asperger’s syndrome and autism went on to secure an apprenticeship with Channel 4 as a runner after being supported through the application process by his employment support specialist Becky Mills. His manager at Channel 4 has since said that Lewis has excellent attention to detail and can be trusted to get tasks completed to a high standard.
Lewis, who achieved an Outstanding Achievement award, said: “Channel 4 have been the most supportive employer that I have ever worked with. They recognise that employing people with disabilities is the way forward.”
More than three people enter paid employment every week as a result of the Surrey Choices EmployAbility service. Of those supported in work, 70% have been in that job for over two years.
Surrey Choices provides a wide range of employment and community support, enabling adults with support needs or disabilities to gain independence and learn skills that will help them find paid or voluntary work.